Is Harden the catalyst for the Sixers?

James Harden moving on from the Nets to the Sixers was a trade that shocked a lot of people, partly because of the sheer numbers that Harden is able to put up but also due to some of the other aspects of the trade. We’ve taken a closer look at what this trade entails in order to get to grips with what the Sixers can expect to take from it.

Trade details
At this point, the move for Harden to join the Sixers is expected to change the odds of them making it to the finals. Many people feel that the Sixers have a chance this season, and the addition of an elite-level points scorer is likely to increase their chances. In fact, sports betting in New Jersey has already seen an influx of online wagers placed on the Sixers to make it to the finals.

So, what did the trade entail? Well, the first part of the move saw the Sixers getting James Harden and Paul Millsap. While Millsap is no slouch and will certainly be a valuable addition to the roster, Harden is the real stud here. His almost superhuman scoring rates will help the Sixers push forward over the course of the season and improve their current performance.

This deal saw them trading Seth Curry, Ben Simmons, and Andre Drummond to the Brooklyn Nets. They also sent two first-round picks to the Nets. The two picks are as follows: an unprotected 2022 first-round pick, with the choice to defer until the 2023 draft if they like, and a top-eight protected pick for the 2027 draft. At first glance, it looks like the Nets could be getting a solid deal here. However, there are a few caveats.

Firstly, the trade of Ben Simmons is definitely a positive for the Sixers. He has been a thorn in their side from a personal level for a while now. Getting him off the roster is likely to improve locker room morale as well as reduce the salary costs on a player who had no chance of getting any game time.

Secondly, by replacing three players with two incomings, it means that the salary cap hasn’t taken such a big hit, as it would have with a three for three trade. It allows the Sixers to pay the extra for Harden without having to worry about the salary cap taking a beating.

What will Harden bring to the Sixers?
Well, this is pretty simple. Harden will bring the ability to score points. In fact, he brings the ability to score a whole lot of points. The Harden trade is perhaps the best bit of business that the Sixers could have hoped to do during the course of the season. It means that they will be improving their scoring potential without significantly weakening their starting roster.

This is something that the Sixers desperately needed in order to remain in contention near the top of the standings. This could be a year too soon for them to challenge in the finals, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a late-season trade has become the catalyst for a team to drastically outperform what was expected of it.

The Simmons trade?
This is perhaps the strangest aspect of the trade. Simmons is undoubtedly a talented player. When he’s on his game, he is one of the best players in the league. The problem is that he’s very rarely on his game. In fact, he’s not just rarely on his game – he’s rarely on the court. He has allowed his personal issues with the Sixers to become a huge problem. While the Sixers aren’t innocent in the conflict with Simmons, it goes without saying that he did bring a lot of it onto himself. It means that it’s a big risk for the Nets to take. As they’re currently in a solid position, bringing in Simmons does two things. Firstly, it improves the morale of a rival. This could backfire spectacularly, especially if the Sixers hit a good run of form. Secondly, it can potentially destroy the atmosphere in their own dressing room.

While it’s not guaranteed this will happen, Simmons is still a risk. If it pays off, the Nets will be getting a good player. If it doesn’t, they will have strengthened a rival while also weakening themselves. This is why the trade of Harden could be the start f something special for the Sixers.