The Philadelphia 76ers are considered to be one of the two or three teams most likely to eventually pull off a trade for James Harden. The other two squads in serious contention are the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat.
Because Philly is viewed as such a legitimate player for Harden’s services, everything the team puts out is met with heavy scrutiny. That includes the tweets of newly-hired team president Daryl Morey.
This weekend, Morey opted to tweet out a tribute to Harden shattering Calvin Murphy’s franchise assists record last year with the Rockets.
As soon as the tweet went live, people immediately began to wonder whether it was a precursor to a Harden trade. As a result, Morey went back and deleted it quickly.
Last week, speculation kicked into overdrive about a possible trade between the Sixers and Rockets centering around Ben Simmons and Harden. It got so loud, in fact, that new Philly head coach Doc Rivers had to reassure Simmons that he wasn’t getting dealt.
“I can tell you again that none of this has started from us,” Rivers said of last week’s trade rumors.
“I gave Ben a call last night, but I’m not going to share when we said. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of our business. It is what it is.”
Due to Simmons’ young age, Rivers wanted to ensure that the trade speculation wasn’t getting to him.
“I think it depends on the guy,” he said.
“Ben’s young sometimes you feel like you do. I’m sure there’ll be other times when you don’t feel like you need to. I always just call a player just to check on and get a read from where he’s at. I feel very good about our conversation. Now we can just move forward.”
Anyone wanna guess which NBA player slid into Jeffree Star’s DMs?https://t.co/MZV52G1sV4
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 21, 2020
Publicly, Morey has been adamant about not wanting to trade Simmons.
“We are not trading Ben Simmons,” Morey said in a statement. “He is an important part of our future.”
Privately, however, the chatter has been a bit different. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the “76ers have made Ben Simmons available in some packages with the Houston Rockets for James Harden.”
Should LeBron be suspended? The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/6VN3jINFwA
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 19, 2020
Plus, Morey has something of a history of denying trade rumors and then doing precisely what he denied anyway.
Will that ultimately happen again here?
Time will tell.