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James Harden may have the 76ers on his list of preferred trade destinations, but they’ll reportedly have to give up the farm to land him.
The Rockets have asked the 76ers for star guard Ben Simmons and three first-round picks in a potential deal for Harden, according to NBA reporter Yaron Weitzman. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 76ers have not been willing to include Simmons in any proposals thus far, Weitzman reported.
Philadelphia would appear to be a natural landing spot for Harden given that new 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was the Rockets GM who brought the superstar to Houston via trade in the first place. The New York Times reported on Friday that the 76ers are even seen as the “most likely destination” for Harden, 31, once he is finally traded.
But the price tag of Simmons and three first-round picks is a hefty one. While the 24-year-old Simmons and Joel Embiid, 26, have not been able to get the 76ers over the hump in their three seasons playing together, they are expected to have another shot to team up and chase a title this season under new head coach Doc Rivers.
Last season, Simmons averaged 16.4 points, eight assists, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game, but watched from afar with a knee injury as the 76ers were swept in the first round of the playoffs.
Harden, meanwhile, has reportedly been unmoved in his request for a trade, even after the Rockets acquired John Wall for Russell Westbrook. Harden reported to training camp late before finally being cleared to join practice on Monday.
Harden has not addressed the media since his trade request became public, but according to ESPN, he has expressed to Rockets ownership and management “his intention to be professional and engaged upon joining the team.”
Harden will make his preseason debut on Tuesday night against the Spurs.
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