The Philadelphia 76ers continue to deal with the Ben Simmons drama to the best of their ability but have been getting no help from Simmons and his team. With ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the Sacramento Kings are no longer interested in the Simmons sweepstakes, that leaves one trade favorite, the Brooklyn Nets. After it was reported last week that superstar guard James Harden was frustrated and open to playing elsewhere, the Sixers have been connected and apparently have offered a rising star for Harden.
Rumors have been swirling all week, with the anticipated trade deadline creeping up quickly, and the Sixers have been involved in multiple. The most popular rumor came out on Friday afternoon, that the Sixers have offered Simmons and young star Tyrese Maxey for Harden. The Sixers have been on fire lately, winning 13 of their last 16 games, and playing their best ball of the season. Obviously, that has a lot to do with the amazing play of Joel Embiid, who has scored 25+ points in 16 straight games and was just announced as an All-Star starter for the fifth straight season. Embiid has had help though, mainly from Maxey and Tobias Harris.
The Nets reportedly have an offer from the Sixers for Harden on the table. 👀https://t.co/rpVVjwn7WU— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) January 28, 2022
Maxey has taken a big leap so far in his second season. His season averages are now up to 16.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game on 46.3% shooting per contest. A big step up from his numbers last year, especially in scoring now that he is the second option with Simmons out of the rotation. Trading the young star would almost guarantee the Sixers a top, superstar player back, which is what they are looking for, but giving up the 21 year old Maxey may be too high of an asking price.
Maxey, 21, has emerged as a solid second option in the Sixers offense and will only continue to improve as he gets more NBA experience and has formed great chemistry with Embiid. Harden, who will be 33 this August, is on a bit of a decline. Even on a decline though, Harden is still averaging 23 points, 8.1 rebounds and 10.1 assists on 42% shooting, his lowest mark since his rookie year. A pick and roll offense with Embiid and Harden would immediately be a top duo in the league and would turn the Sixers into immediate championship contenders but keeping Maxey and allowing him to develop into the second option for Embiid could attract talent to come to Philadelphia through free agency and they could still make a run at Harden this summer.
The possibilities are endless for the trade deadline and the rumors will continue to swirl even after the deadline. As long as Simmons stays on the Sixers, there will be trade rumors following. Making a run at Harden seems to be the team's favorite option and could happen this offseason when, hopefully, they have more leverage to trade Simmons but until anything happens, anything seems possible.