How close was Ben Simmons to being part of the trade that would have sent him to the Houston Rockets in return for James Harden? Now that Harden has already been dealt somewhere else, the question regarding Simmons is quite different.
From the words he’s used since the Rockets traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets while also holding the Sixers on the phone with a package that included Simmons, he’s in the right mindset.
He had a triple double against Miami, followed by being one assist short of another in the 2-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He did score only 21 points in the two games combined, but Simmons isn’t there for the points. His usefulness is in everything else.
However, perhaps the Sixers do want more. From him, or for him. And that brings us to the important questions right now.
Does Daryl Morey believe he has a championship squad under him with Simmons as part of the team?
That’s a tough one. If he was on the block, than I guess the organization doesn’t value him that way. You can get into more complicated calculations like they do value him but thought they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to get an MVP like Harden.
Does Ben Simmons still want to play for a team that tried to trade him?
From what we learn every new day about him this version of the NBA works, this should be something that pushes Simmons himself to start pushing for a trade. We haven’t seen him put on a Harden-like performance that screams “Get me out of here!” but with Simmons, sometimes it’s hard to actually tell, especially when it comes to his scoring.
How does this play out?
Right now, the situation, at least in terms of the relationship between player and front office, seems to be salvageable. But things move quickly in this league, and Morey is an aggressive decision maker. Personally, assuming Simmons is in the right mindset, I’d roll the dice on this team a bit further – the trade deadline is over 2 months away. It’s not time to kill the idea that Joel Embiid and Simmons can co-exist on a contender.