Did the Brooklyn Nets win the Ben Simmons-James Harden trade?

Now that the 2022-23 season is over for the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s time to ponder who won the Ben Simmons for James Harden trade between the franchises. This writing is inspired from a recent article from Brian Lewis of the New York Post giving his take on who won the trade.

As a refresher, on Feb. 10, 2022, the Nets traded James Harden and Paul Millsap to the 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, an unprotected 2022 first-round pick, and a protected 2027 first-round pick. With the trade being a little over 15 months old, it’s important to note that Drummond is now a member of the Chicago Bulls and that Millsap did not play a game during the 2022-23 season.

Since the trade, Harden has been solid for Philadelphia as he averaged 21 points and 10.6 assists per game while guiding the 76ers to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. In both of those appearances, Harden has had some disappointing performances that have led some to believe that he isn’t reliable in the clutch and that he gave up on Philadelphia.

Since the 76ers’ season ended in a pathetic Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics, there have been reports that Harden wants to go back to Houston to play for the Rockets after parts of nine seasons with the franchise. If he does indeed decline his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season and goes back to the Rockets, Philadelphia will have nothing to show for trading for Harden other than losing in the second round repeatedly and having to find a new head coach after Doc Rivers was fired soon after the Game 7 loss.

With regards to Simmons, he has played just 42 games for the Nets despite being with the organization for 1.5 seasons thus far. When he was traded to Brooklyn during the 2021-22 season, he needed to have back surgery after being unable to get on the court for the Nets following the trade. Simmons was ready to go for the 2022-23 season, but it was clear that his confidence was low and his game followed suit.

After a lackluster season, Simmons’ campaign ended prematurely in March when a physical done on him found a nerve impingement in his back. Simmons’ dealt with various injuries during the season, mostly related to his knees and back. Once head coach Jacque Vaughn ruled Simmons out, Brooklyn moved on to be the sixth seed in the playoff, but was subsequently swept by the 76ers in the first round.

From the way it looks, neither team gained much from the Harden-Simmons trade because it seems like the organizations essentially traded problems. However, while Simmons has provided little-to-nothing for the Nets, one could argue that if Simmons turns around his performance in the slightest, Brooklyn could benefit from that and be better positioned for the future.


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Story originally appeared on Nets Wire