Two NBA superstars saw their wishes fulfilled via one deal in the hours leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline.
James Harden is heading to Philadelphia thanks to a blockbuster deal between the Nets and the 76ers, according to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The Sixers are sending a significant haul back to Brooklyn that includes Ben Simmons, who reportedly has wanted out of Philadelphia since last spring and did not play in a game for the 76ers this season.
Joining Simmons on the trek from the City of Brotherly Love to Brooklyn are Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, per Wojnarowski. The Nets also are acquiring two first-round picks from the 76ers: an unprotected 2022 selection and a protected 2027 pick.
Harden, who goes way back with Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, will not be a rental for the 76ers either. The 10-time All-Star was initially expected to test free agency this summer, but according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Harden now is expected to pick up his $47.3 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Simmons, meanwhile, is under contract through the 2024-25 season. The 25-year-old is owed roughly $146.5 million over the next four seasons, a hefty price for a player whose stock diminished significantly over the past year.
The Nets might not be done making noise either. Wojnarowski reports the organization still is looking to be “aggressive” ahead of the 3 p.m. ET deadline, especially now that it has two first-rounders in its arsenal.