The Philadelphia 76ers thought they had the Nets on the ropes. They were up 2 points with just seconds left, and it would take a miracle for Brooklyn to steal this one from them. Enter Dwight Howard—the most unlikely of heroes!
The “76ers vs nets” is a battle for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Brooklyn Nets have just been handed the ammunition to beat the Philadelphia 76ers.
It ultimately came to pass. The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have finalized their long-awaited James Harden-for-Ben Simmons transaction.
In return for a tanking Harden, Brooklyn received a big haul. Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, was clearly anxious to catch his white whale – this was the deal he had been waiting for (pun intended) all along.
He got what he wanted, so that’s good. But, in the process, did he give up too much? (Another pun intended.)
The James Harden-Ben Simmons transaction between the Nets and the Sixers has finally been completed.
During the first half of an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns, James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets reacts to a call. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Nets rid themselves of Harden in exchange for Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, an unprotected first-round pick, and a protected first-rounder in 2027, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Sixers didn’t want to execute a one-for-one deal in the weeks preceding up to the Feb. 10 trade deadline, so there was a lot of posturing. Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, or Curry were all targets for Brooklyn. Each club want to have selections engaged.
The transaction became closer, but it was unclear what a prospective formal transfer would look like, or if it would really materialize.
In the end, there was a clear compromise: the 76ers acquired Harden but were able to maintain both Maxey and Thybulle, while the Nets got Curry and three extra assets instead of either of those two.
Brooklyn’s opportunity to send Harden packing and Philly’s chance to put an end to the Simmons story were presumably what each franchise wanted, and the rest was simply crossing t’s and dotting i’s.
Morey, on the other hand, may have been too ambitious in his pursuit of The Beard, sending the keys to the Eastern Conference along with his former franchise point guard.
With Simmons, Brooklyn suddenly has a more balanced and logical roster.
According to ESPN, the Brooklyn Nets have agreed to trade James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round selections.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, the Nets’ bright future, turned out to be little more than a shooting star. It was lovely, yet it vanished as quickly as it emerged.
The group spent 15 months together, played 16 games together, won one postseason series, and ended with a 13-3 record.
What does this Simmons-KD-Kyrie version look like now that it’s over?
First off, it’s important to note that the former Philly star is done pouting and ready to get to work with his new teammates, according to YahooSports’ Chris Haynes, who said Simmons “welcomes a change of scenery and has already had conversations with Kevin Durant.”
One of the primary benefits of this agreement finally being completed is that we can now focus on genuine on-court basketball issues. And in the midst of all the commotion, the former rookie of the year’s on-court abilities have been overlooked.
Simmons is a 6-foot-11 point guard who has been on three All-Star teams, two All-Defensive teams, and was named to the NBA All-Star team only two seasons ago. When he’s on the court, he’s one of the league’s top players and surely one of its finest defenders.
Durant, Harden, Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, and Bruce Brown have been the most often utilized Nets lineup this season. Harden is no longer with the team, Harris might miss the remainder of the season due to an injury, and Griffin seems to be finished.
Outside of that group, Patty Mills, LaMarcus Aldridge, and De’Andre Bembry have been Brooklyn’s most productive players in terms of points, minutes, and games played.
The club entered the deadline in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, on a nine-game losing run, and without Durant, who is expected to miss the rest of February. But, by default, this deal should give the Nets fresh energy, and it positions them for a much more balanced squad with the signings of Simmons and Drummond.
When fully healthy, Brooklyn’s starting lineup could include Simmons, Irving, Durant, Brown, and Curry. Ben and KD are large enough and strong enough defenders to hold down the fort in the post and in switches, but if a conventional center is more valuable that night, Drummond may be substituted for Brown or Curry.
Kyre is still just a part-time player due to his immunization status. Brooklyn, on the other hand, does not go defensively into the tank as it has in the past by placing Ben in the James place.
Drummond is also a rebounding, shot-blocking, and double-double monster, giving head coach Steve Nash a center he hasn’t had since his time in Brooklyn. Curry is also one of the league’s finest three-point shooters. This year, he’s hit 40 percent of his long shots on about six tries each game, averaging 40 percent.
This season, Drummond has averaged 6.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks as a backup to Joel Embiid. However, when he’s more active — he started 46 games for Cleveland and the Lakers last season – he averages 14.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game.
He’ll play more minutes than he did with the Sixers, and his output should be closer to what it was in 2020-21. As opponents focus on Durant and Irving, and Simmons forces his way to the hoop, Curry should have more freedom to shoot.
To recap, Simmons is a better defender than Harden, will enable Durant and Irving to take more shots and shine brighter on offense, and can fill in for any of those two stars when necessary.
He and Drummond should assist a squad that ranks 14th in rebounding and 20th in scoring defense, while Curry will give more than enough space for the offense (especially with Harris out).
It’s a more balanced team that plays to its strengths and enables its stars and role players to shine.
The battle for the Eastern Conference title has just become a lot more fascinating.
Trade deadline day in the @NBA has been fantastic. The East is nuts. The defending champion @bucks still the best team, imo. But, boy, the Eastern Conference playoffs is going to be a dog fight!@Suns / @warriors still the class of the West. Lots to cover on @NBAonTNT tonight.
— Brian Anderson (@BAndersonPxP) February 10, 2022
To be sure, stopping the combo of Embiid and Harden in Philadelphia will be difficult. The Beard has demonstrated throughout the course of his career that he is one of the finest scorers in NBA history when he is totally engaged.
Meanwhile, Embiid is enjoying the finest season of his career and has clearly established himself as a contender for MVP. Maxey and Thybulle are still on the roster, giving the Sixers their own sense of balance.
The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, who made their own deadline move, are still in the mix. The Miami Heat lead the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls have been at the top all season, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are preparing for a lengthy postseason run.
Getting out of the Eastern Conference and into the NBA Finals will be a difficult task. But, thanks to Morey and the 76ers, the Nets’ roster balance has improved, making them even more of a danger than they were before Feb. 10.
NBA.com provided all data.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ acquisition of James Harden sends a message to the basketball world that they are all-in to win.
Frequently Asked Questions
What number is Ben Simmons on the Nets?
A: Ben Simmons is currently an inactive player on the Toronto Raptors. Hes wearing number 6 for his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.
Are the Nets trading James Harden?
A: The Nets are not currently trading James Harden.
What did the Nets trade for Harden?
A: The Houston Rockets traded Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden.
- daryl morey