ESPN’s Tim MacMahon appeared on the network’s the Woj Pod and dismissed any idea that the Rockets would be shaking up their roster by trading Harden.
The Rockets have no interest in a James Harden for Ben Simmons swap, per @espn_macmahon
"The answer from Houston will be a firm no." pic.twitter.com/YnorCSEasd
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) October 29, 2020
The main reason for such a rumor to circulate is the fact that former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was recently hired by the 76ers to run their basketball operations.
Morey acquired the 31-year-old Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder and watched as the veteran guard became one of the NBA’s top players. During the 2016-17 season, Harden led the league with 11.2 assists per game and has paced the NBA the past three years by averaging over 30 points per game during each season.
However, all that individual success for Harden didn’t lead to any championships for the Rockets, which resulted in the departures of Morey and former head coach Mike D’Antoni
Simmons is only 24 years old and has had three consistent seasons for the 76ers, who have also come up short during the postseason in recent years.
That lack of playoff success for the 76ers resulted in head coach Brett Brown leaving and Doc Rivers taking his place.
Last year, Simmons signed a five-year contract extension that will pay him $170 million through the 2024-25 campaign.
In 2017, Harden signed a four-year contract extension with the Rockets worth $228 million. The last year of that deal is for the 2022-23 campaign, with Harden having a player option that will pay him $47.4 million.
Both the Rockets and 76ers remain talented teams despite their shortcomings, but it’s clear that one proposed blockbuster deal won’t be taking place.