“The end game for Ben Simmons is that he’s traded for James Harden in a sign-and-trade next summer” - Brian Windhorst gives latest on Ben Simmons

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons has been the hottest name in trade discussions all season, and the intensity likely will increase as the Feb. 10 deadline inches closer.

The disgruntled player has not appeared in a game this year after demanding a trade in the offseason. It appears as if Simmons has no interest in trying to return to the team. Meanwhile, Philadelphia may make a move to get some value for Simmons before the trade deadline passes.

ESPN insider Brian Windhorst made some interesting comments Tuesday on his podcast, "Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective." Windhorst said there's belief around the league that Simmons could eventually get traded to Brooklyn in exchange for another star guard.

"Some executives in the NBA believe that one of the end games for Ben Simmons is that he's traded for James Harden in a sign-and-trade next summer," Windhorst said.

Will the 76ers find a trade partner for Simmons?

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons awaits a trade
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons awaits a trade

The latest rumor about Philadelphia guard Ben Simmons from ESPN insider Brian Windhorst is going to get plenty of attention if the dots are connected.

Sure, Simmons could fit perfectly with what the Brooklyn Nets are trying to do. A versatile defender like Simmons could do wonders with the Nets' already impressive offensive arsenal. But is that the route Brooklyn would want to shift to?

On the other side of the conversation, it's easy to see why the idea of Philadelphia acquiring James Harden in a trade would make sense. There's Harden's previous tie with 76ers general manager Daryl Morey (in Houston), and the idea of pairing superstar big man Joel Embiid with Harden could be formidable. But are the 76ers prepared to offer a long-term max extension to a player who will be 33 in August?

Windhorst brought up an intriguing hypothetical proposal, and there likely will be plenty of Simmons rumors thrown around in the next few weeks.

The trade deadline has always been a time for teams to decide if they want to make a sizeable move for future change or if they want to try to contend for a championship now.

If any big "splashes" happen this year, it would seem as if the disgruntled Simmons would be one of the top prizes. Time will tell, but things are likely going to heat up quickly.

Simmons was the No. 1 pick in 2016.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein