Sixers Rumors

Eastern Trade Rumors: Pacers, Sixers, Hawks, Celtics, More

Although Domantas Sabonis‘ name has frequently surfaced in trade rumors in the last couple months, one executive who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said he doesn’t think the Pacers will move Sabonis unless they get a package like the one Orlando got for Nikola Vucevic last season. Chicago gave up two lightly-protected first-round picks and young center Wendell Carter Jr. for Vucevic, and took on Al-Farouq Aminu‘s multiyear contract in the deal.

The price will be significantly lower for other Pacers trade candidates, including Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb, who are both available, according to Scotto. Rival executives tell HoopsHype that Indiana is thought to be seeking a couple second-round picks for Holiday.

Scotto doesn’t specify an asking price for Lamb, but I imagine it will be a challenge for the Pacers to get positive value for the veteran wing — he’s having a down year and is earning more than $10MM.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the Eastern Conference from the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast:

  • When the Sixers and Hawks discussed Ben Simmons, they “briefly kicked around” a trade that would’ve involved Simmons, Tobias Harris, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Danilo Gallinari, according to Scotto. That concept didn’t gain any traction though, as Atlanta has no interest in Harris.
  • Scotto has heard the Celtics did due diligence on Rockets center Daniel Theis, but says a reunion with the big man is less likely following last week’s Juan Hernangomez trade, since Hernangomez would’ve been the most logical salary-matching piece in any deal involving Theis. Scotto adds that rival executives believe Boston will hang onto Robert Williams, viewing him as part of the team’s current core.
  • The Hornets, Raptors, and Bulls are among the teams in the market for a center, says Scotto. The position has been an area of concern for Charlotte and Toronto for a while — Chicago has Vucevic, but would be interested in adding a backup.

Thybulle Back After Missing Five Games

James Harden Reportedly Interested In Testing Free Agent Market

Word is circulating around the NBA about James Harden‘s increased interest in testing the free agent market this summer, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says the Nets star has “clear intentions” of becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

Harden holds a $47.4MM player option for the 2022/23 season, but the expectation is that he’ll turn down that option and seek a longer-term contract. The former MVP, who has always signed extensions prior to free agency in the past, expressed interest back in September in going through free agency, even while he suggested that his plan was to remain in Brooklyn.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve never been a free agent before. I’ve always just been loyal, just signing contract extensions, just being there, being there, being there,” Harden said during training camp. “I just want to take my time with it. It’d be a very, very difficult thing to leave here, or to leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But I think this season I just want to focus on winning a championship and everything else will work itself out.”

On the surface, Harden’s plans to reach free agency aren’t a cause for concern for Brooklyn. The Nets will be able to offer him more years and more money than any other team, and he, Durant, and Irving make the team a perennial title contender. He’s among a handful of star free-agents-to-be – along with Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal – who can maximize their future earnings by forgoing an early extension and waiting until the offseason to sign a new deal. As Fischer acknowledges, Harden may very well remain with Brooklyn after testing the market

However, multiple reports this week have stated the Sixers are looming as a potential suitor for Harden, and Fischer hears from sources that the 32-year-old has recently told confidants he may be interested in exploring opportunities outside of Brooklyn.

Fischer shares a few more potential red flags for the Nets, writing that Harden has been frustrated by Irving’s status as a part-time player, as well as Steve Nash‘s fluid rotations. Fischer also hears from multiple sources that Harden hasn’t enjoyed living in Brooklyn as much as he liked living in Houston.

Fischer stresses that Harden isn’t asking for a trade and that he’s extremely likely to finish the season in Brooklyn. Beyond that though, it seems there are no guarantees.

Sixers Rumors: Harden, Simmons, Trade Talks

After Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Sixers‘ preference would be to retain Ben Simmons until the offseason in order to pursue James Harden, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer cited sources who said the same thing.

“At the end of the day, it’s Harden all the way,” one league source told Pompey. “They want Harden, whether they get him now (or) whether they get him on a forced sign-and-trade this summer.”

The idea of the Nets trading Harden during the season can probably be ruled out. But the former MVP will be eligible for free agency this summer, so he’ll have leverage at that point if he wants a change of scenery. Still, the Sixers wouldn’t have the cap space necessary to sign Harden outright, so Brooklyn would have to get on board with the idea of acquiring Simmons in a sign-and-trade.

Sources tell Pompey that the Nets are aware of Philadelphia’s plan to pursue Harden in the offseason and know that the star guard has good relationships with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and co-owner Michael Rubin. But Harden has previously stated that he plans to remain in Brooklyn long-term — and even if he has a change of heart, it would likely take a lot of convincing for the Nets to send him to a division rival.

“If I’m the Nets, am I giving up James Harden until I know what Ben is going to be?” one source said to Pompey. “And am I giving him up to go 100 miles away? I’m going to have to see [Harden] several different times a season.”

For what it’s worth, Pompey says people close to the Sixers deny that the team is focused specifically on Harden, reiterating that Morey just wants a star player in return for Simmons — Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard are among the other potential targets who have been frequently mentioned. Harden may be atop Philadelphia’s wish list though, and sources who spoke to The Inquirer suggested Harden would welcome playing with center Joel Embiid.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Some of Pompey’s sources believe potential trade partners are wary of seriously engaging in talks with the Sixers for fear of leaks. “Whenever teams inquire, it shows up in the media at some capacity within the next 24 hours,” a source told The Inquirer. “Everyone is wanting Daryl to come to them with hard proposals. No one wants to be the one to bring something in because they are afraid as soon as they do it, they’re going to be exposed.”
  • One source told Pompey that trade discussions with the Sixers are also challenging because Morey has a tendency to move the goal posts — you might think you’re getting close to making a deal, then Morey will come back and ask for more.
  • In a pair of stories for, Kyle Neubeck examines the Harden rumors in an effort to determine how seriously to take them, and ranks hypothetical Simmons trade packages from most to least intriguing.
  • David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer advocates for patience on the Simmons front, since trading the former No. 1 overall pick represents the Sixers’ best chance to get Embiid the help he needs to turn the team into a title contender. While taking the best offer at the deadline may help in the short term, it could backfire in the longer term by limiting the team’s ceiling, Murphy writes.

Latest On Ben Simmons

The Sixers continue to discuss possible Ben Simmons trades with potential suitors, but sources with direct knowledge of the team’s thinking – and sources from rival clubs – believe Philadelphia still prefers to hang onto Simmons until the offseason in order to pursue James Harden or another star player, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

The Kings and Hawks are among the teams that have been most engaged with the 76ers as of late, with the Hornets also inquiring on Simmons, per The Athletic’s report. Philadelphia has asked Sacramento for a package that includes Tyrese Haliburton and multiple first-round picks, and wants John Collins and multiple first-rounders from Atlanta, according to Charania and Amick, who hear that the Sixers would also want the Hawks to take on Tobias Harris‘ pricey contract.

None of those scenarios have generated serious traction, and team officials in Sacramento and Atlanta are skeptical that the Sixers will lower their asking price for Simmons much – if at all – by the February 10 trade deadline, according to The Athletic’s duo.

Sources tell Charania and Amick that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has the full support of ownership to extend the Simmons sweepstakes into the offseason. Although Philadelphia obviously doesn’t want to waste an MVP-caliber season from Joel Embiid, the club is more concerned about not squandering its top trade chip in Simmons by settling for one of the offers currently on the table. There’s a belief those offers will still be available in the summer, and there could be better options for Philadelphia at that point, Charania and Amick say.

“There’s no sense of panic (to do a deal before the deadline),” a source with knowledge of the Sixers’ thinking told The Athletic.

Here’s more on the Simmons situation:

  • The Sixers have explored deals that would be centered around players like Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Pacers center Domantas Sabonis, and Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, but felt those players weren’t “championship-altering, perfect fits” for their roster, according to Charania and Amick.
  • When the Rockets traded Harden to the Nets a year ago, the Sixers were a serious contender for the star guard, having offered Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and two first-round picks, per The Athletic. During the Rockets’ decision-making process, owner Tilman Fertitta asked Harden whether he preferred to go to Brooklyn or Philadelphia, and Harden chose Brooklyn. It’s unclear if Houston would’ve taken the Sixers’ deal if Harden preferred Philadelphia, according to Charania and Amick, who hear from sources that the Rockets liked the Nets’ proposal more.
  • Although Harden chose Brooklyn over Philadelphia last year, sources tell The Athletic that Morey is optimistic about his chances of landing the former MVP in the offseason and believes Harden views the Sixers’ situation “in a positive light.” Philadelphia’s cap situation would make an offseason sign-and-trade acquisition of Harden challenging (even if the Nets were interested in Simmons), but not impossible.

Doc Rivers Bristles Over Question About Coaching Tactics

  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers snapped at a reporter who questioned his coaching tactics after the team let a 24-point lead get away in Friday’s loss to the Clippers, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. When asked how much his coaching decisions contributed to the defeat, Rivers responded, “Would you ask (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) that question? No you wouldn’t. So don’t ask me that question. I’ve earned that.”

Morey Expands Trade Options Due To Embiid’s Stellar Season

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has expanded his trade options due to the MVP-caliber play of Joel Embiid, but he remains cautious about making a blockbuster deal prior to next month’s deadline, he said in an radio interview on 97.5 The Fanatic (hat tip to Kyle Neubeck of

Morey acknowledges that the play of Embiid and his teammates makes him more motivated to upgrade the team for a championship push.

“I think with how great Joel is, our line has moved down a little bit. Because Joel has lifted us to contention by his sheer will of greatness this year, that does the number of deals we would do more likely,” Morey said. “It’s more likely that we can find ones that get us into the top few contention because of how great Joel is playing. So we are sitting right now at a better chance of a trade that actually helps Joel and the Sixers.

“[Before], we absolutely need to get an impact player, but there’s an impact player that has to be in the top 30 of the league. Because Joel is playing amazing and has lifted us into probably five percent plus title odds just on his play, now we might be able to do it with a top-40 player who’s a great fit.”

Of course, the main path to making such a deal would be to move Ben Simmons. Throughout the season, Morey has put an exorbitant price tag on Simmons. Morey’s comment suggests he’s more open to getting a package that won’t include a “top-30” player.

As Neubeck speculates, Morey may be trying to motivate a potential trade partner such as the Kings to include a promising player like Tyrese Haliburton, who could eventually develop into an All-Star.

Morey admits that he’s “frustrated” by not having a “whole team” due to Simmons remaining inactive.

“We do have a big chunk of our pretty constrained salary that we can pay the players not playing,” he said. “That’s very frustrating…and then there’s teams that are frustrated because they’re losing or not quite as good as they thought they would be, and that’s creating a lot of chatter.”

Yet he’s not necessarily optimistic that the chatter will lead to an impactful trade.

“It won’t be because we don’t want to do it, it will be because for whatever reason, I mean I can tell you that these other 29 teams, none of them wake up and say, ‘Hey, today, how can I help the 76ers get better?'” he said. “They’re all worried about their own teams. The main reason I say less likely than likely is it takes two or three to tango. Trades are not easy to construct in this league, there’s a lot of risk aversion, there’s a lot of decision-makers that have to be hurdled.”

Morey also doesn’t want to make a deal for some well-known players that will only marginally help their chances of reaching the Finals.

‘That will hurt Joel, that will hurt the 76ers, that will hurt our whole roster in the long run more than if we’re patient,” Morey added.

Thus far, there’s hasn’t been an offer that comes within the range of what Morey is willing to do, according to the radio station’s Twitter feed (link). Morey did say there are trade packages with the Kings that could work, but doubts he’ll get such an offer, which may require a third team.

Kings Tell De’Aaron Fox They Don’t Want To Trade Him

The Kings have informed De’Aaron Fox and agent Chris Gaston that they don’t want to trade the 24-year-old guard, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Fox’s name has surfaced more frequently in trade rumors as of late, including earlier today. However, sources tell Charania that the Kings’ current mindset is that they want to keep both Fox and second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton and build the team around them. Sacramento has conveyed that stance to potential trade partners and to Fox and his reps, says Charania.

Multiple reports this week stated that the Kings have expressed interest in Pacers center Domantas Sabonis, with one report suggesting Fox had been brought up in those discussions. Charania says a deal centered around Sabonis and Fox won’t happen.

The Kings are also believed to be very much in the hunt for Ben Simmons, though Sam Amick of The Athletic – who previously reported that Sacramento was open to the idea of acquiring Tobias Harris along with Simmons – now hears from a source that the team doesn’t have interest in that scenario (Twitter link). Amick says the Kings still see a pathway to landing Simmons, but it’s hard to imagine how they’ll construct an offer that meets the Sixers‘ asking price without including either Fox or Haliburton.

Fox and Haliburton were reported last summer to be off-limits, but that changed earlier this month, as Amick reported that no Kings players were considered untouchable. While that report – and others – stated that Sacramento’s preference would be to build around Fox and Haliburton, there had been a sense that the team was becoming more open to doing something drastic and perhaps breaking up its backcourt.

Based on Charania’s report, it sounds like the Kings are once again leaning toward making Fox and Haliburton untouchable. It’s possible they arrived at their latest position as a result of being underwhelmed by how the two guards were being valued on the trade market — it’s also possible this is posturing and Sacramento will reverse its stance again within the next three weeks.

For now though, it appears that any major move made by the Kings will involve some combination of Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, and others on the roster rather than Fox or Haliburton.

Latest On Kings’ Pursuit Of Ben Simmons

After Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that Ben Simmons appears to be “front and center” in the Kings‘ trade deadline plans and said the team is open to acquiring Tobias Harris along with Simmons, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer has published a report with more details on Sacramento’s pursuit of the Sixers‘ star.

According to Pompey, sources have repeatedly stated the Sixers aren’t interested in a deal headlined by De’Aaron Fox, who would be one of the Kings’ best trade chips.

One source tells Pompey the Kings have considered offering Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and two first-round picks in exchange for Simmons, Harris, and Matisse Thybulle. However, that source also said the Sixers aren’t interested in that package; a second source tells Pompey that Philadelphia has yet to receive a formal offer from Sacramento.

Pompey hears from that second source that the Kings and Sixers haven’t discussed Philadelphia’s younger players like Thybulle, whom the source classifies as borderline untouchable. However, sources tell Pompey that Sacramento has done background work on Thybulle, Isaiah Joe, and Paul Reed.

Even if the Kings were willing to put the aforementioned Haliburton/Hield/Barnes offer on the table, they’d need to either reroute Harris to a third team or add at least one more player – such as Tristan Thompson or Marvin Bagley III – to make the deal work financially.

The Kings and Sixers haven’t yet gained any “significant traction” on a deal, Pompey writes.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Pompey’s report:

  • The Sixers have denied that they’re shopping Harris or want to attach him to a Simmons trade, but multiple teams and sources have told Pompey that’s the case.
  • According to Pompey, before sending Cam Reddish to New York, the Hawks considered offering John Collins, Reddish, and a first-round pick for Simmons, but the Sixers brought Harris’ name into discussions, ending those talks.
  • Pompey confirmed there are league executives who believe the Sixers would be comfortable hanging onto Simmons for the rest of the season. He also confirmed that the three-time All-Star is prepared to sit out the remainder of the season in that scenario.
  • Sources tell Pompey that the 76ers are continuing to fine Simmons for the games he misses, but not for more minor infractions.

Scotto’s Latest: A. Holiday, LeVert, Cronin, Pistons, Simmons

Wizards guard Aaron Holiday is considered to be available via trade, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who said on the latest HoopsHype Podcast that multiple teams have checked in on Holiday’s price tag.

The Wizards acquired Holiday from Indiana in the five-team offseason trade that sent Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles. As the team’s backup point guard this season, the ex-Pacer has averaged 6.2 PPG and 1.9 APG on .475/.382/.808 shooting in 35 games (16.2 MPG). He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency during the 2022 offseason.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Most executives around the league believe Caris LeVert is now the most likely Pacers player to be traded, in the wake of Myles Turner‘s foot injury, says Scotto. There’s a sense that teams may lower their offers for Turner or back off pursuing him entirely, Scotto adds.
  • A number of rival execs believe Trail Blazers interim general manager Joe Cronin has a chance to keep the job on a permanent basis, according to Scotto. Interestingly, Portland announced a series of front office hires and promotions today — none of those moves impacts the very top of the team’s basketball operations department, but the fact that the franchise is actively adding and promoting executives under an interim GM is noteworthy.
  • On Tuesday, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested that the Pistons offered Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, Kelly Olynyk, and a first-round pick for Ben Simmons earlier in the season, and the Sixers weren’t enthusiastic about the concept. Scotto has heard that Detroit’s offer, which was turned down by Philadelphia, actually consisted of Grant, Bey, and Josh Jackson.