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One Ben Simmons trade reportedly not happening: For Westbrook

Corey Robinson and Kurt Helin discuss how Joel Embiid has driven the 76ers' winning streak, look ahead to his place in the MVP conversation and examine the Hawks' role in possible trades.

Back in July of 2019, under heavy pressure from star player James Harden and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, then Houston GM Daryl Morey made a trade he didn’t love: Bring in Russell Westbrook to pair with Harden, sending out Chris Paul (who Harden didn’t like playing with), two first-round picks, and two pick swaps. Safe to say now, Sam Presti and OKC won that deal.

Two-and-a-half years later and in Philadelphia now, Daryl Morey isn’t about to make that same mistake.

Morey is not trading Ben Simmons for Russell Westbrook. From Sam Amick of The Athletic:

But we forget sometimes that executives are ultra-competitive in their professions as well, and it’s safe to say Morey has no interest in executing a bad deal because of pressure ever again. As an aside, sources say that’s also the reason the Sixers have zero interest in the prospect of swapping Simmons for Westbrook and alleviating the Lakers’ fit concerns with their superstar trio.

The reaction here: Thank you, Captain Obvious.

That’s not a shot at Amick’s reporting — that trade scenario does get mentioned by fans in some corners of the Internet (sometimes from Lakers’ fans desperate to find anyone to take Westbrook, and good luck with that). But for anyone with a rational mind, they had to know that Westbrook doesn’t make the 76ers contenders and Morey would not go back down that road.

What we know right now is Simmons’ trade talks remain stalled and the 76ers have not lowered their asking price for him (if anything, Morey may have raised it).

Amick has other, more interesting Simmons trade chatter, such as:

• Simmons’ large contract, three years and $108 million after this season, is a deterrent for some teams. The thought was some small-to-mid-sized markets that very likely can’t draw a player of Simmons’ caliber in free agency would jump at the chance to get a player they control for years and can build around. But for teams not sold Simmons is a No. 1, or maybe even a No. 2, on a championship team, that contract looks more like an anchor than a bargain.

• Teams interested in Simmons are being told that, despite the mental health issues that have sidelined him in Philadelphia, Simmons could play for another team after a few weeks of hard conditioning and a chance to get in some on-court work in scrimmages.

• Minnesota remains interested in a Simmons trade and is talking to the 76ers, but with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards off the table, it likely takes a third team to get the kind of star the 76ers want on the table and make a deal happen.

• Atlanta and Indiana are possible suitors, but that remains more speculation than reality.