The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly were frontrunners right along with the Brooklyn Nets in the James Harden sweepstakes. But did they ever really have a chance to land the former NBA MVP?
Apparently, not on Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta's watch.
The Sixers were ready to send a package headlined by Ben Simmons to Houston for Harden, but the Rockets went with Brooklyn's deal instead. With former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey now in Philly, rumor has it Fertitta was "adamant" about not dealing with the 76ers.
More from Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, via the "Posted Up" podcast:
"After that, I was told that Tilman Fertitta – the Houston Rockets owner – he was just adamant that they not make a deal with Philly, obviously with Daryl Morey being the GM over there now," Haynes said.
The possible bad blood between Fertitta and Morey dates back to the Russell Westbrook trade, when Fertitta stepped in to make the trade go through after Morey was hesitant to make the deal.
"My basketball ops got maybe a little weak at the end [of the trade discussions]," Fertitta said at the time. "And I just said, 'We're doing this.'"
While it seems to mostly be speculation, that certainly would be alarming if a beef between the two execs prevented the blockbuster from happening. As much of a haul the Rockets got for Harden, passing on Simmons could come back to haunt them.