On this period of immediate entry and dueling sizzling takes, all people rushes to guage who received any commerce. The Nets’ dealing James Harden to Philadelphia was no completely different. 

First, Brooklyn by a hair. Then, the 76ers in a landslide. Now? If Harden actually does bolt again to Houston? With the previous MVP trying set to flee Philadelphia for nothing, and Ben Simmons nonetheless but to get wholesome or proper for the Nets, the extra correct query may be: Did anyone win? And what staff misplaced worse? 

Harden is opting out of his $35.6 million participant choice for subsequent season, based on Yahoo, and anticipated to return to the Rockets in free company, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. If it occurs — recent off Harden reportedly getting coach Doc Rivers fired — it could shut the door on the 76ers’ finish of this much-scrutinized deal. 

And it could be simply the newest energy transfer artfully connived by Harden. 

The star’s mom is in Houston — as are his companies, his house and, in all probability, his coronary heart. And with the Rockets flush with $60 million in salary-cap house, a Harden reunion appears seemingly — which may make them the massive winners. 

It was solely after eight years of arising quick regardless of an MVP and three scoring titles that Harden demanded a commerce. Brooklyn paid a king’s ransom of Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, three first-round picks and 4 swaps to pair him with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in a fake dynasty that shortly went down the drain. 

When Harden uninterested in Irving and the Nets in February 2022, he pressured a transfer down the New Jersey Turnpike for Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks. 

Ben Simmons’ Nets tenure has been outlined by missed time.
Noah Okay. Murray for the NY Put up

Simmons — whom the 76ers may’ve dealt for Tyrese Haliburton simply earlier than the commerce deadline — was imagined to be the right defensive complement for Durant and Irving. As a substitute, he spent final season sidelined and this season struggling, again surgical procedure decreasing him to a shell of his All-Star self. A really pricy shell. 

Although Simmons is the one Web who has made an All-Star Sport, that’s a sobering actuality for a franchise that had Durant, Harden and Irving to search out themselves in. 

Now Brooklyn goes into the summer time with extra hope than proof that Simmons can get again to that stage. His averaged 6.9 factors, 6.3 boards and 6.1 assists, all career-lows, earlier than a foul again shut him down after simply 42 appearances. 

The Nets appeared runway losers on this swap. Down I-95, pairing Harden with Joel Embiid, the 76ers’ bar was clear: deliver a title to Philadelphia. However he’s solely introduced two second-round exits earlier than (presumably) making his personal exit. And with no path to exchange his scoring and playmaking, that exit could be devastating. 

James Harden
James Harden is prone to go away the 76ers for nothing in free company.
Getty Pictures

Regardless of clearly exhibiting his age, Harden nonetheless led the league in assists, and Philadelphia received’t have the cap house or flexibility to exchange him after buying and selling the Nets two first-rounders. That’s why they’re so determined to re-sign him, Daryl Morey reportedly firing Rivers largely to please the free agent-to-be. 

Ask the Nets how empowering the improper star works out when the star will get sad. 

Philadelphia’s gambit was a win-now transfer, and a title would’ve made them the clear winners it doesn’t matter what occurred elsewhere. But when Harden leaves, they’ll have by no means even gotten shut, with their finish of the ledger tallied up. 

Brooklyn’s story continues to be being written — and with Drummond gone and Curry seemingly prone to observe, it’ll largely be outlined by Simmons. His contract is without doubt one of the most bloated within the NBA when it comes to return-on-investment. Now it’s on the Nets to discover a option to salvage Simmons and make the most effective of this case. 

Neither they nor Philadelphia can stroll away saying they received this commerce. If Harden finally ends up returning to Houston — taking part in at house, alongside the picks he was traded for — the Rockets may be the true winners.