By Jerry Wein
Twenty-four hours ago, the Sixers were on the verge of trading Ben Simmons to the Houston Rockets for James Harden.
Instead, the Brooklyn Nets got Harden, leaving everyone wondering:
Philly had the biggest trade chip in Simmons, and Sixers president Daryl Morey had plenty of experience building a roster around Harden during his days as general manager of the Houston Rockets.
But Morey might have been the impediment to Philly getting Harden.
Chris Haynes and Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports discussed the Harden blockbuster on the latest edition of the Posted Up podcast, with Haynes reporting Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was insistent Harden not be dealt to Philly:
“After that, I was told that Tilman Fertitta – the Houston Rockets owner – he was just adamant that they not make a deal with Philly, obviously with Daryl Morey being the GM over there now,” Haynes said, via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports
There is lingering tension between Fertitta and Morey. The Rockets owner was openly critical of comments Morey made regarding protests in Hong Kong in the fall of 2019. Morey then left his position as GM of the Rockets under the pretense he was taking a break from basketball, only to sign on with the Sixers.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Rockets wanted fairly significant assets (including draft compensation) in addition to Simmons. The Sixers apparently had a “threshold” and did not want to pass that threshold.
Instead, Houston got a historic amount of draft picks from the Brooklyn Nets, with Caris LeVert (later flipped for Victor Oladipo), three future first-rounders and four pick swaps going to the Rockets in exchange for Harden.