How James Harden-Ben Simmons Trade Affects 2022 NBA Championship Odds

The Nets and 76ers swung a league-altering blockbuster

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The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers — two Eastern Conference contenders — produced fireworks before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, completing a blockbuster involving James Harden and Ben Simmons that has major ramifications across the league.

The deal also caused a shift in NBA title odds for the 2021-22 season.

DraftKings Sportsbook tweeted Thursday afternoon following the trade that Philadelphia’s championship odds jumped from +1400 to +750. Brooklyn’s odds dropped from +320 to +350.

It’s possible these odds move again based on whatever bets are placed on each team. But the changes speak to the apparent perception surrounding the trade, which pairs Harden with Joel Embiid in Philadelphia while paving the way for Simmons to return to the court alongside Kevin Durant and (for road games, at least) Kyrie Irving with Brooklyn.

In total, the Nets acquired Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, a 2022 first-round pick (or the right to defer until 2023) and a 2027 first-round pick (top-eight protected). The 76ers landed Harden and Paul Millsap.

The Nets might win the trade in the long run. Harden, in the midst of a down season at age 32, reportedly wanted out of Brooklyn and soon figures to command a massive contract extension. Simmons, despite his shooting struggles and questions about his motivation after requesting a trade from Philadelphia, is seven years younger on top of being an excellent playmaker and defender.

But the 76ers seemingly are a bigger threat to reach the NBA Finals now than they were before the swap. Philadelphia has been decent with Simmons sitting out the entire season thus far. Now, the combination of Harden and Embiid could bring the Sixers to new heights, albeit with the risk of the gamble ultimately blowing up in their faces.

All told, the NBA trade deadline was fascinating, with the Harden-Simmons blockbuster being the culmination of months-long drama involving the two superstars. And it wouldn’t be shocking if the Nets and 76ers lock horns when the playoffs roll around.

Brooklyn entered Thursday with a 29-25 record, in eighth place in the East, after dropping nine straight. Philadelphia sat at 32-22, good for fifth in the conference.

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