Feb 11, 2022 - Sports

Philadelphia's James Harden era begins

NBA players James Harden and Ben Simmons.

NBA players James Harden (left) and Ben Simmons. Photos: Rocky Widner and Ned Dishman/Getty Images

So long, Ben Simmons. Hello, James Harden.

Driving the news: The Sixers acquired Harden from the Brooklyn Nets just before Thursday's trade deadline in exchange for Simmons, the disgruntled point guard who hasn't played in a single game this season.

Flashback: Simmons last donned a Sixers uniform on the court during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks last year.

  • His lackluster performance was typified in Game 7 when he passed up an uncontested layup.
  • Simmons has been demanding to be traded since the summer and has maintained he has not been mentally ready to return to play all season.

What they're saying: Jon Marks of SportsRadio 94WIP said Harden can help the Sixers win now and compete for a championship.

  • "It's the most impactful move [the Sixers] could have made," he said. "He will have an immediate impact, and he'll make everyone around him better."

Yes, but: Marks noted Harden has injury issues and reportedly has his jersey "retired" at a Houston strip club because of the money he spent there, raising questions about his commitment to his health.

  • "He's going to need to come in and show that winning is the most important thing in his life right now — and night life, strip clubs and drinking isn't," Marks said.

The Sixers' star center Joel Embiid tweeted a meme around the time news of the trade began trickling out:

A tweet from 76ers center Joel Embiid
Screenshot of Joel Embiid's Twitter feed

What's happening: The 76ers also will get Paul Millsap, while sending Seth Curry and Andre Drummond to Brooklyn, the Sixers organization said. The Nets will get draft picks, too.

  • Harden will stick around through the 2022-23 season, according to ESPN.

Between the lines: The 76ers held on to their young star Matisse Thybulle, who had been mentioned in the lead up to the trade as a possible addition.

What to watch: Simmons will return to Philadelphia to play his first game this season on March 10, when the Sixers face off against the Nets at home.

  • If you're looking for tickets, act fast: Prices have spiked and now start at $120, as of Thursday.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Philadelphia.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Philadelphia stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Philadelphia.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more