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Ben Simmons’ emoji tweet amid James Harden trade rumors

Ben Simmons James Harden Rockets Sixers

No star in basketball is currently more embroiled in trade speculation than Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons.

Houston Rockets superstar James Harden, as you’ve surely heard, has requested a trade, and told the Rockets brass that his preferred destinations are the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers are now run by former Rockets GM Daryl Morey, and, in the Simmons, possess perhaps the most enticing young trade chip that any team could offer Houston in a return package for the disgruntled, 32-year old Harden.

On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi and Ramona Shelburne reported that the 76ers were open to including Simmons, 24, in trade packages for the 2018 MVP, though talks between the two sides have not progressed far down the road.

On Friday, the Sixers All-Star took to Twitter to seemingly acknowledge (maybe?) the trade buzz with his oft-used emoji — the angry, steam-nose face.

Morey emphatically denied reports that Simmons is available in trade talks.

“We are not trading Ben Simmons — he is an important part of our future,” Morey told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Take Morey’s words with a grain of salt. In 2019, the executive — who has a proclivity for making star-laden trades — insisted that the Rockets were not seeking to trade Chris Paul, only to deal him (at the direction of ownership and Harden) later that summer for Russell Westbrook.

Woj and Shelburne also reported that the Houston Rockets were expanding their discussions to include teams outside of Philly and Brooklyn. Per ESPN, multiple teams from both conferences have contacted Rockets GM Rafael Stone to inquire about Harden.

The Sixers open their 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 23, in a matchup against the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center.