By Harvey Hoffman

Notwithstanding coach Doc Rivers insistence that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can win together, the Sixers are the “most likely” partner if the Houston Rockets decide to trade James Harden, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Harden is undergoing a series of COVID-19 tests required by the NBA before being allowed to join his teammates. He reportedly continues to seek a trade. The rest of the Rockets will open the preseason Friday at Chicago.

“As the NBA preseason begins tonight Philadelphia ranks as the most likely destination when the Rockets eventually reach the point of trading James Harden,” Stein reported. “The Rockets insist (for now) they will not trade Harden. The Sixers insist (for now) they will not trade Ben Simmons.”

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But both sides could eventually cave, given that new president of basketball operations for the 76ers Daryl Morey spent 13 seasons as general manager of the Rockets. Morey is a big Harden fan.