The Sixers Have Reportedly Made Ben Simmons Available In Some James Harden Trade Talks

Much of the discourse around a trade for James Harden includes the belief that the best player that Houston can realistically get back in the deal is Ben Simmons. There have been plenty of reports about whether or not Philadelphia was willing to part with their young All-Star, and on Thursday evening, a pair of new reports indicate that the answer is yes. Despite this, nothing seems to be imminent in a trade between the two teams.

According to reports by both ESPN and The Athletic, Houston and Philadelphia have held conversations about a trade that would see Philly part ways with Simmons. Having said that, the two sides are apparently not close to any sort of deal, as Houston’s asking price beyond just him is quite high.

Houston is coming at this from a position of strength. Harden is under contract for another two years, so they have the ability to let this play out and let the market dictate what they eventually do. This is also reflected in ESPN ‘s reporting, which indicates that the Rockets or having conversations with teams beyond two — Philly and Brooklyn – that appear on Harden‘s wishlist for a deal.

As for which teams this includes, that is unclear. But ESPN does report that there are a handful of contenders from both conferences that are inquiring, and Houston is keeping Harden abreast of what is happening.

Several playoff-caliber teams in the Eastern and Western conferences tell ESPN that they’re finding increased comfort in committing high-level trade assets in talks to acquire Harden. The Rockets have ongoing discussions on several fronts and have been communicating with Harden about those scenarios, sources said.

Several teams tell ESPN that they’re feeling less inhibited about trading for Harden without an assurance that he’d re-sign once he can become a free agent in two years.

Harden’s contract means that this would not be exactly the same as a Kawhi Leonard situation, where he would go as a potential mercenary for one year to a team that has championship aspirations. There is no guarantee that Harden would resign with which ever team put all their cards on the table to acquire him, but it does appear that there is a potentially robust market for the former MVP services that is not scared off by any potential uncertainty regarding what his future holds.