There has been a lot of speculation about what players will end up switching teams via trade prior to or at this year's trade deadline. It definitely seems as though some big-time players could be elsewhere after February 10th.
The Brooklyn Nets were rumored to be open to trading James Harden to the 76ers if they were to land Ben Simmons. Obviously, Ben Simmons is a good player, but perhaps adding a third team into the deal and moving Ben Simmons will give them an even better chance of winning a championship. That team could be the Sacramento Kings, who have been linked with Simmons as well. Here's the potential trade scenario.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: James Harden
Brooklyn Nets Receive: De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley
Sacramento Kings Receive: Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond
Philadelphia 76ers Create A Top-Tier Star Duo
There is no doubt that James Harden and Joel Embiid on the same team would immediately have a case as the best duo in the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid has been playing at an MVP level, and a dominant multi-faceted big man like him seems perfect to pair with James Harden.
On the 76ers, James Harden would become the secondary scoring option, as well as being the primary facilitator for the team. He could make plays for shooters around him such as Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry, and there's no doubt that his presence would allow Joel Embiid to get some easier buckets. The 76ers have relied on Joel Embiid heavily on both ends this year, and James Harden would reduce some of the big man's offensive load.
The Philadelphia 76ers would have to send out Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons to make this scenario happen. Moving on from Tobias Harris' contract gives them more flexibility from a financial standpoint, while Ben Simmons has obviously not played all season. Overall, this is a good move from the Philadelphia 76ers' perspective.
Brooklyn Nets Get Back A Solid Return By Trading James Harden
If James Harden wants to move on from the Brooklyn Nets, then it would be in the franchise's best interest to move him before he becomes a free agent. This trade would get them a young star in De'Aaron Fox, and some solid rotational players for the team.
De'Aaron Fox is currently averaging 21.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 5.2 APG. He is having a worse season compared to his performance last year, but there is no question that he is a good player that could help the Nets win. He is also young and under a long-term contract. The Brooklyn Nets would also get Buddy Hield in this trade, who is known for being a sharpshooter, and would help provide spacing for the team's stars.
Marvin Bagley is an intriguing addition too, simply because it would be interesting to see what would happen if the Nets were to focus on his development. He is an athletic big man who still has upside, and perhaps playing for a competing franchise with stellar coaching could help unlock him.
If James Harden doesn't want to re-sign with the team, then perhaps it could be good to get this sort of return in exchange for him. The Nets would add some youth and look to the future, while still giving Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving a chance to compete in the present.
Sacramento Kings Land Ben Simmons While Keeping Key Players
The Sacramento Kings have long been fans of Ben Simmons, and this trade would help them land him without giving up Tyrese Haliburton or Davion Mitchell. They would also be getting some solid veterans that could help them make a push for the play-in tournament.
Ben Simmons would obviously be a difference-maker for the Kings defensively. He is a versatile defender that can successfully guard most positions. He is also a fantastic playmaker and finisher at the rim. Perhaps he can be the future face of the franchise for Sacramento, and a higher usage rate on the offensive end could help him develop his offensive game further.
Getting Tobias Harris' contract will definitely hurt in terms of him being overpaid for his production. However, Tobias Harris is still a good basketball player that can contribute as a scorer and rebounder on a playoff team. The goal for the Kings is to acquire talent: Tobias Harris is overpaid but he can still help the team win. Andre Drummond would be a solid veteran for the team, and he could definitely be an amazing 6th man for them.
Overall this trade gets the Sacramento Kings a good player to build their franchise around, as well as two veterans that will help them be competitive. This is definitely a trade framework that would benefit them.