The Sixers Theory: A Philadelphia 76ers Column

Logo for The Sixers Theory: A Philadelphia 76ers Column. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

The Philadelphia 76ers are scorching hot, yet recent reports of the imminent trade appear to roll in following every victory. This week’s edition of The Sixers Theory will feature a heavy breakdown of the Ben Simmons trade rumors.

Ben Simmons Trade Rumors

Three major reports revolving around Simmons and the upcoming trade deadline sparked endless discussions debating the team’s best option in moving the 25-year-old guard.

The first option presented itself when ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider, Adrian Wojnarowski, announced via Twitter that the Sacramento Kings lost interest in a Ben Simmons trade deal.

Now, at first glance, this is not great news, as any team not actively shopping Simmons makes it all the more difficult to pull a trade off. However, upon further insight, the timing of the report leads me to believe the Kings were insulted by the offers they were receiving and were trying to send a message to 76ers President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey. 

It has been well documented that the Sixers prefer the Kings guard, Tyrese Haliburton, over guard De’Aaron Fox. In contrast, it has been well documented that Sacramento is unwilling to depart from either of their young stars, but if they had to, they would move on from Fox.

Woj’s tweet could be a way of Kings General Manager, Monte McNair, telling Morey to “Stop talking to me about Haliburton, give me a legitimate offer for Fox, or stop calling.” 

McNair and the Sacramento Kings found themselves in a constricting moment. A playoff berth has eluded the franchise for 15-straight seasons, and with only eight days until the trade deadline, it would be questionable to refrain from trading for a proven regular-season star who has not missed the playoffs in his career. 

The second, but more speculative, report was authored by Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. He cited anonymous sources around the league telling him the Sixers are “all-in” on Brooklyn Nets-star James Harden.

Morey and Harden are no strangers, their relationship dating back to their years in Houston, and have been cited to enjoy working with one another. Add in the near trade last year, which would have seen Simmons go to Houston and Harden sent to Philly, and it is no surprise that Morey would be interested in a trade for his ex-centerpiece.

The idea of a Harden-Simmons trade becomes murky when analyzing the contingent actions Harden and the Nets would have to take in order to agree to a deal with a division rival. 

Although Brooklyn’s point guard has expressed some discomfort with teammate Kyrie Irving’s part-time status, there is little reason to believe Harden will leave Brooklyn as long as they continue succeeding. Personally, this sounds eerily similar to the reports of a Damian Lillard trade earlier in the season, but that could all change if Simmons is not dealt at the trade deadline. 

ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne dropped a feature on Tuesday, Feb. 1, highlighting multiple reasons why Ben Simmons remains obstinate on his trade demand. One of which struck a chord with me. 

Shelburne wrote: “He’s frustrated that Rivers didn’t come to see him while he was training in Los Angeles last summer… Simmons doesn’t dispute that he didn’t reply when Rivers texted and called him several times over the summer asking to see him. But in hindsight, Simmons feels Rivers and the Sixers could’ve done more.” 

This article was sourced by people close to Simmons, so this excerpt genuinely blew my mind. There is no benefit in having this be public. If anything, it shows immaturity and lack of respect from Simmons, not an indictment of the team’s handling of the situation.

In its entirety, however, Shelburne’s piece appeared to me as a way Simmons and his agent could tell other teams he is ready to play, just not in Philadelphia. 

Quote Recap: 

For this week’s game recap, I’ve provided my favorite post-game quote that helps summarize the three Sixers wins. 

Thursday, Jan. 27: Philadelphia 76ers 105Los Angeles Lakers 87

Saturday, Jan 29: Philadelphia 76ers 103Sacramento Kings 101

Monday, Jan 31: Philadelphia 76ers 122Memphis Grizzlies 119

Peltz’s Predictions:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 2: Win vs. Washington Wizards
  • Friday, Feb. 4: Win at Dallas Mavericks
  • Sunday, Feb. 6: Loss at Chicago
  • Tuesday, Feb. 8: Win vs. Phoenix Suns

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.