Multiple reports last season had suggested that the Philadelphia 76ers were interested in a James Harden for a Ben Simmons swap, but a move failed to go through. Harden was looking for an exit at that point in the season and ended up forming a trifecta with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the Brooklyn Nets.
Houston Rockets did not consider Ben Simmons a centerpiece of their rebuild in James Harden trade talks
NBA insider Tim MacMahon was the most recent guest on ESPN's Brian Windhorst's popular podcast, "Hoop Collective," and divulged some critical information revolving around the James Harden-Ben Simmons trade situation that went down last season. Here's what MacMahon had to say about the Rockets' views on 76ers offering them Simmons in exchange for the 2018 MVP -
"There’s been a lot of discussion about the Morey dynamic, but it simply came down to this. The Rockets felt like, ‘If we’re trading James Harden, this is a full-fledged rebuild, and Ben Simmons is not the centerpiece of a rebuild."
MacMahon continued -
"If they take Ben Simmons, the Rockets win a handful more games, and they are just, at best, on a path to mediocrity. They did not feel like he was a “build your franchise around this guy” kind of player. Now, they feel like they’ve got one of those guys in Jalen Green."
The general consensus is that the Houston Rockets ended up benefitting by sending Harden to the Brooklyn Nets instead of the Philadelphia 76ers as it helped them get a brilliant haul of draft picks. The 76ers were conservative in offering picks due to Ben Simmons' inclusion in the package, and in hindsight, the Rockets made the right decision.
Ben Simmons had a 2021 postseason to forget as he drew considerable flak for his limited skill set. His inability to shoot from downtown has been a major hindrance in the 76ers' path to success, who have toyed with mediocrity in their recent playoff runs. The Australian international now wants out of the franchise and management are finding it difficult to negotiate an asking price of their choice.
The 76ers are expecting a James Harden-like package in exchange for the point forward's services, and as pointed out by McMahon, teams across the league do not view Ben Simmons as a franchise cornerstone. Teams like the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers have shown significant interest, but both these teams are hesitant to part ways with their stars to acquire Simmons.
However, the 76ers will be better off finding a trade destination for their disgruntled star instead of keeping him, and fans could see Ben Simmons on a new franchise soon.