Ben Simmons 'made available' in bombshell James Harden development

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Houston Rockets star James Harden.
The 76ers have included Ben Simmons in potential trade deals involving James Harden. Pic: Getty

Ben Simmons' time at Philadelphia could be coming to an end after the 76ers reportedly made the Aussie star 'available' in trade talks involving want-away Houston Rockets star James Harden.

The 76ers have made a major concession in trade talks for the Houston Rockets superstar, but it still may not be enough to land the guard.

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According to leading NBA insiders, Sixers point guard Simmons has been made available in some potential Harden trade packages.

However, conversations with Houston are currently at an impasse, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“The Philadelphia 76ers have made Ben Simmons available in some packages with the Houston Rockets for James Harden, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Conversations aren’t fluid as of now,” he tweeted.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported the same, noting the two teams are some ways off clinching a deal.

Wojnarowski said: "While the Sixers have signalled a willingness to include All-Star guard Ben Simmons in trade packages for Harden, those talks have come nowhere close to a deal.”

Harden in messy stand-off with Rockets

Progress in the stand-off between Harden and the Rockets has been slow since the player made it known that he wants out of Houston.

Harden set the tone of the discussion by skipping the first few days of Rockets training camp while openly partying, then didn’t do much to dispel rumours of his trade demand when he joined the team.

The Rockets have been understandably apprehensive to trade away their superstar, but Harden reportedly indicated not even a swap of Russell Westbrook for John Wall was enough to change his mind.

As for where Harden ends up, he reportedly has two preferred destinations in mind, then what you might call acceptable destinations.

James Harden is seen here during an NBA game with the Houston Rockets.
James Harden has made his feelings about leaving the Rockets crystal clear. Pic: Getty

At the top of the list are the Sixers and Brooklyn Nets, both intriguing destinations that would represent reunions for Harden (Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and GM Daryl Morey in Philly).

However, given the reports of Simmons not being enough to spur a deal and what has been reported about the Rockets’ interest in a Nets trade, that may not be happening.

Next on the list are two more contenders in the East, the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. It’s unclear how much interest is on either end.

Intriguingly, ESPN reports that the Rockets are increasingly expanding trade discussions beyond Harden’s preferred destinations, with several playoff-caliber teams reportedly offering significant assets for Harden.

The Rockets would still probably prefer to keep Harden and see if he can make it work with Wall and a revamped core that now also includes Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins, but this clearly could go any number of ways.

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