This trade never made sense outside the fevered minds of people looking for the next hot take (so of course it gained traction on Twitter), but now we can put it to bed.
The Houston Rockets have zero interest in trading James Harden to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons, something ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on the most recent Brian Windhorst Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip Real GM).
“I’ve already been told with a few expletives included by somebody with the Rockets: ‘No, Daryl, James Harden for Ben Simmons is not happening. Don’t ask.'”
Windhorst then points out Harden could demand a trade to Philadelphia, something out of Houston’s control. True. But the Rockets have said repeatedly they want to build around Harden, not trade him. Even if Harden demands a trade, the Rockets do not have to comply.
It’s all moot anyway. Philadelphia is going to try to make the Simmons and Joel Embiid pairing work, according to the buzz around the league. The Sixers are banking on Daryl Morey being able to find the right role players to go around the duo — more shooting! — and Doc Rivers providing more creatives sets on the floor and more accountability out of it. If, after a season, it is apparent this is never going to work, well, then the big questions start.
Remember, when Morey took over in Houston he inherited Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, and he tried to make that work, putting good role players around them. It was only after a couple of seasons, when injuries did that duo in, that he started shifting the franchise. Expect Morey and the Sixers to stay the course, at least for a while.