The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner, and the Philadelphia 76ers remain a major topic of conversation. After a months-long stalemate with Ben Simmons, Daryl Morey is faced with a big decision. He can either move the three-time All-Star for the best offer available or continue this saga into another offseason for the Sixers.
While anything can happen between now and February 10th, the latest developments regarding this situation are starting to provide a clear message. That being said, it seems unlikely we see Simmons moved before the deadline.
Throughout this ordeal, the Sacramento Kings have been one of the main teams to watch as a potential suitor. They consistently appeared in rumors and seemed to have viewed the Sixers star as the answer to ending their 15-year playoff drought. Any chance of these teams striking a deal went away Friday afternoon after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sacramento is no longer in pursuit of acquiring the former no. 1 pick.
With the Kings out of the mix, the only other reported suitor eager to make a trade is the Atlanta Hawks. They have an enticing trade chip in John Collins, but it seems doubtful Morey moves Simmons for him.
The other bit of news circling the basketball community involves Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden. After missing out on him last year, Morey is potentially still eyeing a reunion with the former MVP. So much buzz has been generated on this topic rumors have emerged on a potential collusion lawsuit towards Morey and Harden.
If a move for Harden is going to happen, it will take place in the offseason for the Sixers. He has made it clear he is fully committed to Brooklyn this season, and the Nets have made it clear they aren’t moving him before this year’s deadline. Harden has a player option for next season, and with reports of his “willingness to relocate,” there is a good chance he declines and hits the open market.
From the beginning, Morey has been adamant about what he is looking for in a Simmons trade. He has no intentions of selling low and is eyeing a high-level player to pair alongside Joel Embiid for his prime seasons. The Sixers feel their window to contend for championships is open now, and Morey is operating as such.
It’s a shame to say because of the season Embiid is having, but it feels like a trade before February 10th is highly unlikely. There are too many needle-moving superstars who could be available in the summer for Morey to move off his best trade asset now. Not only is Harden a name to watch, but Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard as well.
Morey only has one chance to get this right. Dealing Simmons for a package of players might provide a lift in the short term but could drastically alter their ability to make a big splash down the road. Many have clamored for the Simmons saga to be over and done with, but the finale doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.