Ben Simmons-James Harden trade named one of the worst trades in past five years

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The trade between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers two seasons ago where the 76ers received Harden and the Nets received Simmons was supposed to be a transaction where both teams found a solution to their problem of having a star that wanted out. Somehow, neither team has benefitted from the trade as of right now.

In what seems like perfect timing because of all of the drama surrounding Harden and the 76ers, Andy Bailey recently wrote an article on Bleacher Report discussing five of the worst trades in the NBA over the past five seasons and the Harden-Simmons deal made the list.

This trade making the list is not a surprise given how interesting both players are to the landscape of the league. Simmons was once regarded as the next LeBron James archetype while Harden was supposed to be the player that Joel Embiid needed to get Philadelphia over the second-round hump.

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Let’s examine why this trade has been disappointing:

Nets Have Not Gotten Much From Simmons

While Brooklyn has been patient with Simmons in terms of his health and confidence, at some point, the team needs that patience to be paid off on the court, preferably in the wins column. Recent reports indicate that Simmons is healthy so he should have a full offseason and training camp where he can just focus on his game.

With the current setup of the roster, Simmons should be the starting point guard. While Brooklyn has lost shooters in Joe Harris and Seth Curry, Simmons should be able to get a lot of shooting from Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Dorian Finney-Smith.

Philadelphia’s Issues Haven’t Changed

While most in the NBA world felt that the 76ers trading Simmons for Harden was not only something that had to be done, but that worked out for Philadelphia since they traded someone who wouldn’t play for them again in Simmons for someone who is considerably better in Harden.

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Outside of Simmons’ issues with the 76ers organization, Philadelphia ultimately had an issue of the inability to make it past the second-round of the playoffs. Prior to Harden getting to Philadelphia, the 76ers made it to the second-round three out of four seasons under a combination of Brett Brown and Doc Rivers as head coaches.

Since trading for Harden, the 76ers have crashed and burned in the semi-finals for the past two seasons. Seemingly, Philadelphia’s winning prospects have not changed and now, Harden wants out.

What B/R Had To Say

“The downsides of this trade are pretty obvious for both teams.

Simmons never returned to the floor in 2021-22, and he managed only 42 appearances last season. He looked like a shell of his three-time All-Star self upon his return, as he averaged only 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.

Those numbers might be fairly intriguing for plenty of players thanks to the rebounds and assists, but not for someone with Simmons’ growing list of health concerns and prior production. If this is his expected output going forward, having him as the centerpiece of a deal that cost you a perennial 20-and-10 guy is bad.

It’s easy to spin this negatively for Philadelphia, too. The Sixers gave up two future first-round picks for a player who hasn’t gotten them any closer to a title and is already demanding out and publicly calling president of basketball operations Daryl Morey a liar after just a year-and-a-half.”

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Story originally appeared on Nets Wire

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