It came down to the Sixers and the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and it appeared that he would be headed to Philadelphia with the two teams discussing pieces around Ben Simmons such as Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle.
In the end, the Rockets sent Harden to the Nets in a mega-deal that also included the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In return for Harden, the Rockets received Victor Oladipo, Rodions Kurucs, Dante Exum, four first-round picks, and four pick swaps.
Sources: Full current trade:
Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 BKN first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN 1st round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27)
Nets: James Harden
Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2nd-rounder
Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
In the end, the asking price was just too steep for president Daryl Morey. The Sixers would be giving up a young star in Simmons as well as a rookie with a bright future in Maxey. Philadelphia was scrambling to try and find other assets in order to keep the rookie out of the deal, but they could not come up with anything in time.
The Sixers, league sources say, are trying to muster other assets (such as draft compensation) to offer Houston to keep Tyrese Maxey out of a potential James Harden trade, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
At the end of the day, the Sixers still have a solid shot in the Eastern Conference. Things do get much tougher with Brooklyn now possessing Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving–whenever he returns–and Harden would have definitely vaulted the Sixers to be favorites in the East, but they still have Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The two of them are still young enough to keep getting better and they were a conference-best 7-1 before they were ravaged by injuries and the league’s health and safety protocols. They have a solid team still and they will certainly be in the mix in the Eastern Conference.
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