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Report: Rockets pursuing Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey in blockbuster James Harden trade

James Harden, Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Rockets, Sixers

The Houston Rockets are on the verge of moving star shooting guard James Harden, with the Philadelphia 76ers as one of the finalists in a possible deal. The Brooklyn Nets are another finalist.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reports the Rockets are hoping for a Sixers package centered around Ben Simmons and rookie combo guard Tyrese Maxey. The hope is a deal is done as soon as today:

Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reports the Rockets are also hoping to get defensive-minded wing Matisse Thybulle in the deal.

The Rockets have been intent on adding Simmons for some time. Whether the Sixers are comfortable including him in the deal is still hard to project.

Reports surfaced last month suggesting Philadelphia would indeed be open to including Simmons as part of a Harden package. But Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey subsequently said the team would not deal Simmons, and that they considered the former No. 1 pick a critical part of the organization’s future.

The Sixers are 8-4 to start the year, with center Joel Embiid playing at an MVP level. Simmons has certainly been a productive playmaker, averaging 7.5 assists to go along with 8.5 rebounds. But he is also averaging under 10 field goal attempts (12.6 points) per game. Perhaps the Sixers feel the addition of Harden would give the team more scoring to complement Embiid.

Meanwhile, Maxey has looked good to start his NBA career. The former Kentucky standout is averaging 11.0 points, 2.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game. He could be incredibly valuable to the Rockets as a combo guard with upside as a shot creator and perimeter playmaker.

The Rockets appear ready to move on from Harden in an effort to build a new foundation, especially in the wake of his outburst after Tuesday’s ugly loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Acquiring Simmons and Maxey would be a strong start.

UPDATE: Stein adds that the Sixers are looking for trade packages to acquire Harden while not relinquishing the rookie guard Maxey.