The Philadelphia 76ers are inarguably the most fascinating team to keep an eye on ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.
This group will either turn the entire league on its head or put together one of the most underwhelming efforts to upgrade their roster in recent memory.
By now, everyone knows the situation between them, Ben Simmons and James Harden.
Simmons wants out of Philly and refuses to play another game for the organization no matter how much money it costs him. Harden, similarly, is disenchanted with the Brooklyn Nets for a myriad of reasons and also wants out. Over the weekend there was chatter of a potential deal coming together between all parties involved to work something out.
So where do things currently stand?
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, at the moment a trade appears unlikely.
“Any Simmons trade remains unlikely before the deadline,” he wrote.
“Philadelphia brass have long stood committed to waiting for a player of Harden or Bradley Beal’s caliber to become available, and each dynamic scorer has at least signaled the possibility he may depart his current situation in the near future.”
It’s hard not to wonder if perhaps Philly’s steadfast refusal to include a particular player in negotiations with the Nets has led to talks breaking off. It’s no secret that Sixers brass has been notoriously hard to construct a Simmons deal with. Don’t forget, one squad hung up the phone on them for their outlandish demands.
So where does that leave the 76ers? Well, it’s complicated.
“As the deadline nears, Philadelphia brass are instead expected to focus on marginal improvements to their roster around MVP front-runner Joel Embiid,” Fischer added.
“Philadelphia has clear needs for supplementary ball-handling and rebounding—two of the largest holes created by Simmons’ season-long absence. Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe are the 76ers players most often mentioned as trade candidates by rival executives.”
It also appears as though a much-ballyhooed deal involving Tobias Harris is off the table.
“While Tobias Harris’ name emerged in trade conversations with the Kings and Hawks, the Sixers have engaged in little further dialogue about moving the veteran forward, sources said.
“But a Harris trade could still be on the horizon this summer as Philadelphia continues its pursuit of a new All-Star partner for Embiid.”
Based on the situation as it currently stands, it really doesn’t feel like the 76ers are going to do anything truly massive ahead of the deadline.
It will be interesting to see what that means for Simmons.
“Numerous figures affiliated with Simmons’ representation insist he’ll never dress for the franchise again, but there are people around Simmons who have recently pushed for the All-Star to retake the floor if he’s not dealt,” Fischer added.
Obviously this time of the year there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. Franchises say one thing, players say another – and everyone is lying.
Yikes. The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/tnwtuYX0rt
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 7, 2022
That said, given how good the 76ers have looked thus far, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to make any rash decisions. Especially if they feel like a superstar will come one way or another in the offseason.
Watch this space. The next few days will either be really crazy or really boring.
Which will it be? Time will tell.