By Jerry Wein
As the Sixers tread water until Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris regain their pre-COVID levels of play, the Ben Simmons has been percolating as a subtext.
According to SNY.com:
The Sixers and team president Daryl Morey attempted to trade for Harden last season before the Nets landed him. Philadelphia was willing to include Simmons in the trade, which is one of the many factors in Simmons’ falling out with the organization.
It seems unlikely that the Nets would entertain trading Harden in-season. Harden has said publicly that he loves Brooklyn. He declined to sign an extension prior to the season but it was seen as a decision driven by finances. Harden could make significantly more money if he re-signed with the Nets as a free agent this summer.
But if things go sideways in Brooklyn and Harden decides to test the market, Morey and the Sixers will almost certainly have interest.
At that point, a Simmons-for-Harden sign-and-trade wouldn’t seem so far-fetched.
But these off-court issues seem remote at the moment. Right now, the Nets are trying to win games, build chemistry, and prepare for a long playoff run.
And Durant has no problem shouldering heavy minutes to get them there.
“I’m a basketball player. I enjoy to play. I wanna play for 48 minutes. That’s just what it is,” he said after Tuesday’s win over the Knicks. “…. I like to play, and if I can convince coach to play me the whole second half sometimes and put me in earlier in quarters, I’m gonna do it.
“It don’t matter. My basketball life is not that long, so I’m gonna get the most out of it.”