It actually happened. With all the talks surrounding a Harden to Philadelphia deal leading up to today, I’m not too surprised. Doesn’t make the trade less crazy though. This shakes up the league significantly. Here are my immediate thoughts on the blockbuster of the 2022 trade deadline.
Receive: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, 2022 first-round pick (unprotected), 2027 first-round pick (protected)
While Harden is the best player in the deal, it’s tough to look at this return and not say Brooklyn is now the best team in the East.
Of course, people said the same thing after the big three originally formed. They were the championship favorite heading into the season. Then KD got hurt, Harden got unhappy, and Kyrie gave up on the team by not getting a shot.
This time, I think it’s different. Ben Simmons has become underappreciated as a player since his disappointing performance in the 2021 playoffs. He’s now the best third option in the NBA, and won’t need to score to help the Nets win. He’ll provide more than enough defense for a roster that desperately needs it, and he’s an elite facilitator who’ll take pressure off Kyrie and KD in the playoffs. On top of that, he’s probably the best player Brooklyn could have gotten in return for Harden.
Ben’s lack of shooting doesn’t even matter anymore, because Seth Curry is teaming up with Patty Mills and Joe Harris to form a lethal firing squad.
Andre Drummond is an underrated part of this trade. He’s proven this season that he can be very valuable as a backup big, and Brooklyn needed just that.
So while the Nets just gave up a top-ten player in the league, they’re just as scary after.
Receive: James Harden, Paul Millsap
In no way is this trade a negative for Philly. Ben Simmons had to go, and they’re getting a true superstar in return.
The duo of Harden and MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid is ridiculously good on paper. However, many teams have looked good on paper (including the Nets prior to this season) and underperformed majorly.
My main concern is that James Harden isn’t willing to play off-ball. He wants to be the guy or he becomes uninterested. This is a problem because Joel Embiid has become arguably the best player in the league this season. Why? Because with Simmons’s absence, he was the guy with the ball in his hands.
I highly doubt Harden will show up to Philly and play second fiddle to Embiid, and in my humble opinion I don’t think it’s smart to do something that will take away from a player as good as Embiid is.
Other than that, Seth Curry is the ideal player to have next to Harden and Embiid, and losing him is tough. Tobias Harris should star as a third option, I think that’s a perfect role for him.
Overall I don’t see any losers in this trade. Simmons and Harden both needed to go, and both teams got back quality hauls. It’s too bad though because both will lose to the Bucks in the playoffs.
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Who do you think is the best team in the East after this trade? Let me know! Thanks for reading, and see you next time!