New 76ers GM is Interested in Blockbuster Tradeby John Devereaux November 4, 2020 0 comments
Once the Houston Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers, the team made some serious front office moves. Longtime Rockets general manager Daryl Morey stepped down from his position and is now in Philadelphia. He was the one who brought former MVP James Harden from Oklahoma City to Houston.
With Morey’s departure from Houston, many believed that there was friction between he and the organization about the possible moving of Harden. Now, within two weeks of Morey signing his new contract to become the Philadelphia 76ers general manager, trade rumors have been floating around. The idea of a Harden and Morey reunion does not seem so far off. Though the two have only been separated one month, Morey has already shown interest in trading for his former star.
It has been suggested by NBA insider Shams Charania that the Rockets will not shop Harden themselves, but that they will listen to the right calls. Houston is dangling bait that they would relinquish Harden to the right deal, but will not actively shop him. A tricky situation for other organizations, making general managers do all the groundwork for a trade. This tactic allows Houston to view only the best offers, as the team does not have to be the one asking for more assets in a trade.
The 76ers have some of those assets that could intrigue the Houston Rockets. They have two All-Star caliber players in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. They also have three players with high contacts that are fringe All-Star talents in Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Josh Richardson. If Morey is serious about bringing Harden to Philadelphia, he would have to trade either Simmons or Embiid.
Simmons would be more valuable to the Rockets, as he is younger and generally healthier than Embiid. Having a strong defensive point forward who can control an offense and defend almost every position is a unicorn in the NBA, making him a great piece for Houston. Although Simmons provides little to no shooting prowess, the Rockets’ role players and bench are riddled with three-point shooters. Theycould see a more balanced and consistent offensive pace with Simmons.
Houston Rockets receive:
Ben Simmons (5 years/ 30.5 million)
Josh Richardson (2 years/ 10.8 million)
2021 first round pick (unprotected)
Philadelphia 76ers receives:
James Harden (3 years/ 41.2 million)
2021 second round pick
Why it Makes Sense
The 76ers are obtaining Harden, one of the few complete offensive players in the league who can score anywhere on the court. Trading Harden for Simmons now allows a very clustered paint to ease up. The former MVP is more perimeter focused and loves to shoot the three. Pairing him up with Embiid (who loves to be aggressive in the paint) allows the team to finally play a more intricate offense.
Philadelphia was very poor on the offensive end, especially shooting the ball. This trade allows them to spread the offense into the three more often. It will also provide Embiid more touches in the paint and off the pick and roll, and Harden is a great playmaker in that situation. Embiid struggled with the pick and roll with Simmons as opposing defenses knew to stay on the big man since Simmons was unable to hit a jump shot consistently.
Benefitting both Sides
This blockbuster trade could be beneficial for both teams. Houston gets a unicorn of a athlete in Simmons to start a rebuild around. They also get a player in Richardson who could be flipped for more assets or kept on if the team still believes they are contenders. The Rockets also receive a first round pick, after having traded all of theirs in recent years. Having a draft pick at any point in the first round is valuable for a team looking to rebuild.
If the Rockets do trade Harden, it would make sense for them to then shop Russell Westbrook for as many assets as they can to fully launch the rebuild. There would be no point in playing both Westbrook and Simmons as they are both ball-dominant players who struggle with shooting.
For the 76ers, they will have the missing piece that shunned them from being a true contender in the playoffs. Shooting was a major need to fill, and trading for one of the best shot-makers in the league fills that need. This move may hinder their future as they lose a young player in Simmons. However, adding a player like James Harden allows the team to contend for championships for the next three years at the very least.
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