NBA Trade Deadline: Nets send Harden to 76ers for Simmons
Philadelphia — Ben Simmons got his wish, a trade out of Philadelphia. The 76ers got their second superstar, with James Harden coming over in a blockbuster multiplayer trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Sixers sent Simmons, their disgruntled All-Star guard, guard Seth Curry and former Pistons center Andre Drummond to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal for Harden. The Sixers will also get Paul Millsap and the Nets get draft picks, according to people with direct knowledge of the decision.
The move was confirmed Thursday by the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.
Simmons did not play this season for the Sixers in the wake of a trade demand centered largely around hurt feelings coming off last season’s playoff loss. Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists over four seasons with Philadelphia, which drafted him out of LSU, where he played only one season.
His defining moment as a Sixer came when he passed up a wide-open dunk against Atlanta in the second round of last year’s playoffs that would have tied the game late in Game 7.
Simmons was hurt by criticism from teammate Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers over his role in Philly’s early postseason exit.
Simmons made a surprise return to the Sixers shortly before the season opened, but was promptly kicked out of practice and suspended for one game. The punishment didn’t matter, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft had no intention of ever playing. He later cited mental health concerns.
Harden has been out with a hamstring injury while trade rumors intensified. Nets coach Coach Steve Nash even stated last week that Harden would not be traded.
This is the second straight season Harden was traded during the season. The Nets acquired the three-time scoring champion from the Houston Rockets in a deal last January, with the idea that Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would form a Big Three. The Nets loaded up for a title run with three of the highest-paid players in the league. The championship run with them never materialized.
They are 2-10 since Durant sprained his left knee, an injury that could keep him out until after the All-Star break. With Irving ineligible to play in home games because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 as mandated by New York City, it placed a heavy burden on Harden. Harden can become a free agent after the season, though he could pick up his $47.3 million player option.
The 76ers are getting an MVP-worthy year out of Embiid and team President Daryl Morey — who was in the front office with Houston when Harden played for the Rockets — made the deadline deal to ensure the Sixers have plenty for the championship push.
ESPN first reported the deal.
Mavs sending Porzingis to Wizards for 2 players
Dallas — The Dallas Mavericks are sending Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, a person with knowledge of the trade said Thursday.
The deal was reached not long before the NBA trading deadline and ends the plan to pair Porzingis with fellow European and young Dallas star Luka Doncic. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade hasn't been announced.
Porzingis has missed the past five games with a right knee injury and has been sidelined for 21 of 55 games this season because of various injuries and a positive COVID-19 test.
Doncic and Porzingis never established the bond the club hoped would develop when Dallas acquired Porzingis in a trade with the New York Knicks before the deadline in 2019.
At the time of the trade, Porzingis was still recovering from surgery for a torn ligament in his left knee not long after he was named an All-Star with the Knicks in 2018. He made his Dallas debut in 2019-20 but remained injury-prone in two-plus seasons with the Mavericks.
The 26-year-old Porzingis signed a $158 million, five-year contract with the Mavericks before ever playing for them. The 7-foot-3 Latvian averaged 20 points and 8.8 rebounds in 134 games with Dallas.
Dinwiddie started all 44 games he played for the Wizards this season, averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 assists. Although his career 3-point shooting percentage is just 32%, Dinwiddie gives Dallas another scoring option in the backcourt with Tim Hardaway Jr. likely sidelined until the playoffs with a broken foot.
Bertans started his career with Dallas rival San Antonio and was solid as a backup the previous two seasons in Washington. But the 6-10 Latvian's playing time is way down this season, along with his scoring and rebounding averages.
... A person with knowledge of the details says the Boston Celtics are trading guard PJ Dozier and forward Bol Bol, along with a future second-round pick and cash to the Orlando Magic in exchange for a future second-round pick.
... The Charlotte Hornets have acquired power forward/center Montrezl Harrell from the Washington Wizards for veteran backup and former Pistons point guard Ish Smith, second-year forward Vernon Carey Jr. and a future second-round draft pick, said a person familiar with the situation.