The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a blockbuster trade just hours before Thursday’s deadline, with James Harden and Paul Millsap going to Philadelphia and Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks going to Brooklyn, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Brooklyn will receive Philadelphia’s unprotected 2022 first-round pick, with the right to defer it to 2023, as well as a top-8-protected 2027 first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski. That pick would remain top-8 protected in 2028, and will turn into two second-round picks — and $2 million in cash — if it doesn’t convey in either season, sources said.
The Nets also are waiving DeAndre’ Bembry to create roster room for the trade, sources told Wojnarowski.
The deal permits both teams to move on from unhappy superstars who had been seeking trades.
For Philadelphia, it means the end of what has been a monthslong saga surrounding Simmons, who asked to be traded shortly after the Sixers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last year.
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Outside of a brief cameo at practice in mid-October in the middle of training camp, Simmons hasn’t been around the team since and has not played in a match this season. Sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Simmons will continue to work with his therapist to get mentally ready to play in Brooklyn.
“It’s a work in progress,” one source close to Simmons told Shelburne.
Simmons has already talked to Nets star Kevin Durant and general manager Sean Marks, his agent, Rich Paul, told Wojnarowski. Simmons is eager to join the Nets and ramp up for a return to play this season, according to Paul.
“We’ve got to work to do to get him back to play, but it’s a great step in right direction,” Paul told Wojnarowski.
While Nets head coach Steve Nash couldn’t speak specifically in regards to the trade yet given that it hadn’t become official, he did acknowledge an air of relief for his team that the deadline finally passed after all the speculation that hung over the organization.
“I think it’s positive for everyone to have the deadline pass,” Nash said before Thursday night’s game versus the Washington Wizards. “And so there’s no more stuff hanging over everyone’s head or everyone wondering what’s going to happen. I think there’s kind of a finality to it that helps everyone move forward.”
Philadelphia, meanwhile, can finally move forward with the Simmons situation behind them — and with Harden reunited with 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who traded for him in Houston.
The Nets remained the consensus favorites to win the NBA title after Thursday’s trade. Caesars Sportsbook kept the Nets at 4-1 to win the championship, while shortening the 76ers from 12-1 to 7-1.
Other oddsmakers, however, dropped Brooklyn back in their NBA title odds. The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas moved the Nets from 6-1 to 10-1 on Thursday. The SuperBook has the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns as co-favorites to win the title, each at 9-2. The 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are next, each at 6-1. The Nets are the favorites at the majority of sportsbooks.
The 76ers sit 1.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference, and Rivers said that was a credit to his players for how they’ve handled everything that has happened.
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