Report: 76ers thought they had a deal with Rockets for James Harden

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Ben DuBose
·2 min read
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Many around the NBA expected former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey to bring disgruntled star James Harden to Philadelphia, where Morey is now the president of basketball operations.

It certainly seems that Morey tried. Per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers “thought they had a deal for Harden done.” The trade likely would have involved Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and draft considerations, Pompey reports.

“The team won’t come out and say it, but Morey pushed hard to reunite with the 2018 MVP,” Pompey writes. “Simmons and Thybulle were even informed by their agents on Wednesday of an expected trade.” Hours before Houston’s final decision to execute a deal, the 76ers and Brooklyn Nets were reported to be the finalists for acquiring Harden.

Citing a league source, Pompey says the Rockets never called the Sixers back for a counteroffer before making the blockbuster deal sending Harden to Brooklyn, instead. The proposal from the Nets was heavier on future draft considerations, with four first-round selections and four pick-swap rights headed to Houston as part of the transaction. Brooklyn also sent out forward Caris Levert, though the Rockets are trading him to Indiana for Victor Oladipo to effectively complete the mega-deal.

Citing sources, Pompey indicates that Houston owner Tilman Fertitta may have been reluctant to do a deal with Morey, who left the Rockets for the 76ers last October. However, Pompey opines later in his story that Simmons and John Wall were not a great fit together, anyway, since both playmakers need the ball, and neither is a strong shooter.

Another sticking point may have been rookie guard Tyrese Maxey. Pompey reports that the Rockets wanted the No. 20 pick in the 2020 draft as part of any Harden trade with the 76ers, but he cites a Philadelphia team source as saying that Maxey would not have been involved.

Going forward, Morey and the Sixers may need to mend fences with Simmons and Thybulle, since it appears that both were mistakenly given the impression that they were on their way to Houston.

Related

Rockets trade James Harden to Brooklyn, land Victor Oladipo, draft assets

Report: Rockets could trade James Harden soon; Nets, 76ers are finalists

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Houston
+220+7.5O 219.5
Toronto
-278-7.5U 219.5