James Harden Rumors: Simmons, Sixers, Heat, Robinson

After reporting on Thursday that the Sixers have been willing to discuss Ben Simmons in James Harden trade talks with the Rockets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link) said during an appearance on the Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin Show today that Philadelphia will be “very careful” about including Simmons in any offer that doesn’t get them more than Harden.

While Wojnarowski doesn’t get into any specifics about what Philadelphia would want, it seems reasonable to assume that if they’re being asked to part with Simmons and draft picks, the 76ers would seek at least one more player from the Rockets — perhaps someone like P.J. Tucker. It doesn’t sound like Houston would be enthusiastic about that scenario though, per Wojnarowski, who says the Rockets will likely want Simmons “plus a bunch more assets” for just Harden.

“You saw (Sixers president of basketball operations) Daryl Morey come out yesterday and say, ‘We’re not trading Ben Simmons,'” Wojnarowski said. “Well, I certainly don’t think they’re trading Ben Simmons just in a deal that looks like it’s straight up with some picks for James Harden. I think they’re going to want a lot more than James Harden. That might not be a deal that’s available to the Sixers.”

The two sides could re-engage in discussions, but right now they aren’t close, according to Woj, who says he expects Simmons and Joel Embiid to open the season in Philadelphia.

Here’s more on Harden:

  • Although the Rockets are committed to finding the right deal, they’d be happy to get a Harden trade done “sooner than later,” Wojnarowski said this morning during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link).
  • Simmons is unlikely to be traded for Harden at this time, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic, who cautions that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the coming months if the Simmons/Embiid duo isn’t thriving. For now though, once reports surfaced suggesting Simmons might be available, the Sixers had to publicly back their All-Star guard, Bodner writes.
  • The Heat were said to have interest in exploring a possible Harden trade and have presumably touched base with Houston. However, Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports (Twitter link) hears from multiple sources that the inclusion of Duncan Robinson in a possible offer is a “major sticking point” — in other words, the Rockets would want him and Miami wouldn’t want to give him up.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) expanded his breakdown of teams that could theoretically make a run at Harden from nine to 14, adding long shots like the Cavaliers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, and Kings.
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