The Philadelphia 76ers have been taking trade calls on Ben Simmons since the summer. Daryl Morey set a high asking price for his talented jack-of-all-trades player and hasn't moved off of it. But now, rival teams think Morey has an ulterior motive.
The Sixers appear content to wait on trading Simmons in hopes they can use him to acquire James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets this summer.
Last season, before Harden was traded to the Nets, the 76ers were engaged in trade talks involving Simmons to acquire Harden from the Houston Rockets. Ultimately, Houston owner Tillman Fertitta allowed Harden to pick between Brooklyn and Philadelphia and Harden chose the Nets.
Despite that choice, Harden did not ink an extension with Brooklyn this offseason. It's widely expected he'll opt out of his current deal this summer to pursue a long-term maximum contract. That's when Morey and the Sixers hope to get involved in a sign-and-trade package for Harden that involves Simmons.
Sources say Morey has the full support of ownership to take this situation beyond the deadline and into the offseason.
If the 76ers are unable to acquire Harden, they'll pursue Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal or Jaylen Brown.