76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said the team will not trade Ben Simmons amid growing links to Rockets star James Harden.
Harden reportedly wants to be traded to either the 76ers or one of Philadelphia’s Eastern Conference rivals, the Nets. There have reportedly been talks between the Rockets and 76ers, with Houston eyeing two-time All-Star Simmons as part of any potential deal.
But Morey, the former Rockets general manager, insisted the 76ers have no plans to part with Simmons as Philadelphia continues to build around the Australian and Joel Embiid.
“We are not trading Ben Simmons — he is an important part of our future,” Morey, who spent 13 years in Houston before leaving at the end of 2019-20, told The Athletic.
Simmons averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds as the 76ers were swept by the Celtics in the opening round of last season’s playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort.
The 24-year-old — who signed a five-year, $170 million max contract prior to 2019-20 — is an elite defender and creator with unrivaled pace, but his shooting struggles have left him stuck between being a star and a superstar.
There have been signs of a shooter behind all of his usual brilliance, but Simmons’ jump-shot success is too few and far between.
Previously compared to LeBron James, Simmons does not shoot 3s or free throws well; his career free-throw percentage of 59.3 is the worst in NBA history by a guard with at least 1,000 attempts.
And his 8.3 career 3-point percentage (2 for 24) is the lowest among all guards who debuted in the NBA in 2000 or later (minimum 20 attempts).
Harden averaged 34.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game for the Rockets, who lost in the Western Conference semifinals.