Deadline Tracker: Two trade targets off the table while rumors fly around 76ers, Harden
Well, today has been interesting. Before all hell broke loose, the NBA trade market has been rather quiet leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline. All that changed today in a matter of hours, with the Portland Trailblazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers all in the process of finalizing major trades to rip the top off deadline transactions.
Of course, you have James Harden rumors still surrounding the city of Philadelphia and Twitter is going crazy trying to find a way to land him in a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. All things considered, the 76ers could still be having conversations about acquiring Harden, but with everyone on Twitter now having inside sources, it’s hard to tell what’s actually happening.
Although Calen Mac’s profile picture makes him look like a legitimate source, let’s just take a minute and focus on what we do know.
Portland Trail Blazers
The writing has been on the wall for Portland all season, and the divorce of the McCollum-Lillard backcourt was inevitable. The Blazers have been the most active team so far in the trade market with now two major trades coming within days of each other.
Portland sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Los Angeles Clippers, and now have sent CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, and Tony Snell to New Orleans for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Tomas Satoransky.
Portland justified these moves with the idea of having the financial freedom to rebuild a roster that fully supports Damian Lillard which will ultimately give them a better chance at a title.
Unfortunately for Philadelphia, this looks to be the nail in the coffin for any pipe dream deal they had in mind with the Blazers. McCollum was intertwined in the rumors with both Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, and with Portland showing consistent effort of trying to keep Lillard it looks like that is a deal that will never come to fruition.
In a befuddling move from Sacramento, the Kings have shipped Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for a return of Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday.
The 76ers and the Kings have been constantly connected in trade rumors, and Sacramento was directly named in Daryl Morey’s press conference as a team that had the potential of getting a deal done for Simmons.
The Kings don’t seem to have a direction. They moved Haliburton to acquire Sabonis and consequently put all their eggs in the basket of a Fox-Sabonis duo, which literally makes zero sense.
Indiana on the other hand, gets rid of a player who had no interest in being there in the first place and in return, they get Haliburton who could potentially unlock Myles Turner.
For the Sixers, this deal essentially confirms many of the rumors between these two teams. Haliburton was apparently available for the “right price”, but whatever fell through between them has now cost them the chance at gaining a very good young player that matched their timeline to win now.
Like I said before, there are too many headlines to follow with the James Harden rumors. Some say he is completely committed to Brooklyn, others say there is a deal in place that just needs to be finalized, and there is really no telling who is right and wrong.
At this point, the two organizations are playing deadline chicken waiting for one another to give in on whatever deal is on the table.
Sam Amick’s most recent report on The Athletic is that Philadelphia has a strong belief that Harden will not re-sign with Brooklyn after the season which gives them a significant advantage in the trade discussions.
If Harden is going to bounce after the season, it makes sense for the Nets to get a high caliber player in return, rather than letting him walk without getting anything back.
Ben Simmons and the 76ers
In what might be the most bizarre narrative happening right now, there are several reports coming out that Ben Simmons is reportedly ready to meet with the Philadelphia 76ers if he’s not moved by the trade deadline.
On top of that, people in Simmons’ camp are pushing him to actually play with the Sixers instead of sitting out for the entire season, and racking up even more fines.
From the reports by Ramona Shelburne stating that Simmons plans to meet with the 76ers if he’s not traded, to Woj starting claiming that Ben Simmons would receive a standing ovation if he returned to the court of the Sixers, it’s been an interesting pivot from everything we have heard over the past several months.
Danny Green said that the doesn’t believe Simmons will be traded, and ALSO mentioned that he doesn’t believe that Ben Simmons will sit out the entire season.
Even yesterday, Joel Embiid stated on radio that even though he thought Ben Simmons’ reaction to what happened after Game 7 was unreasonable, his number one goal is to win championships and that he still believes having Ben Simmons back would increase his odds in doing just that.
48 Hours Remaining
I’m surprised things have heated up on TUESDAY, still roughly 48 hours away from the deadline. Things definitely won’t slow down until after 3PM on Thursday. We’ll keep you posted as more news breaks.