A James Harden trade could "culminate quickly" and the Rockets are "sifting through offers" from the Nets and Sixers, according to a report Wednesday by The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick.
Harden, an eight-time All-Star and three-time scoring leader, made it known to Houston this offseason that he wanted a trade. He told reporters the situation "can't be fixed" and the team is "just not good enough" after the Rockets fell to 3-6 with a loss Tuesday to the Lakers.
Houston has "pursued a 76ers package centered on All-NBA star Ben Simmons," per The Athletic. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told Charania in August that the team was not trading the 24-year-old Simmons, calling him "an important part of our future."
Simmons returned Tuesday night in the Sixers' overtime win over the Heat after a two-game absence due to left knee swelling, posting five points, six rebounds and 12 assists.
The Athletic reports that Matisse Thybulle is one player the Sixers and Rockets have discussed in potential trades. Thybulle, who led all rookies in steals last season, has been out the past three games due to health and safety protocols. Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey are among the other young players the Sixers could possibly offer to Houston.
Brooklyn, according to The Athletic's report, "has prepared a package to Houston for Harden featuring all of their four future first-round picks and three future pick swaps."
Exactly how much would the Rockets want from the Sixers?
"The threshold for Philadelphia — and other contenders — to give up one or multiple first-round picks with young assets is unclear," per The Athletic report.
The New York Times' Marc Stein reports Houston is pursuing a trade package headlined by Simmons and Maxey, and that the Sixers "are trying to muster other assets (such as draft compensation)" to keep Maxey out of a deal.
Joel Embiid has played at an MVP level early in the season, which could certainly influence Morey's thinking. He hasn't had much of a chance to evaluate his roster yet in Year 1 on the job, though. The Sixers were 7-2 before Seth Curry's positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing led the team to be shorthanded over the past three games.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne report Houston plans to keep Harden away from the team until a trade is completed.