It took years for the Philadelphia 76ers to claw their way out of the “process” hole, which provided organizational disfunction that made them one of the worst teams in the NBA throughout the 2010s.
Time will only tell, but it looks like they avoided a similar fate by losing out to the Brooklyn Nets for Houston Rockets superstar guard James Harden.
While the Sixers were a finalist for the 31-year-old, eight-time All-Star’s services, the Nets came out on top of the Harden sweepstakes, giving up four first-round picks, four selection swaps, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Rodions Kurucs in the four-team deal that also featured the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Nets are no stranger to emptying out their future reserves, having done so eight years ago to acquire Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics. Of course, that move led to one of the darkest times in Nets history as a lack of draft capital kept the team plastered to the bottom of the NBA standings while the former Celtics tiro fizzled out quickly in Brooklyn.
Philadelphia would’ve also had to have given up a bounty for Harden as the Rockets were reportedly asking for All-Star point guard Ben Simmons, the impressive rookie, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and draft picks.
It would have left the Sixers’ ranks depleted while bringing in a personality that — as we’ve seen recently — has the potential to completely destroy a franchise from the inside.
Meanwhile, Simmons was reportedly “pretty ecstatic” (h/t ESPN’s Undefeated) to be staying in Philadelphia. That’s the kind of guy you want on your team — not the one who gives up nine games into the season and calls out his teammates and coaching staff before getting his wish of being traded away.
As it stands, the Sixers are second in the Eastern Conference with one of the better headlining duos in the league in Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Better to keep the wealth of youthful talent and develop them into a bona fide support system to sustain winning for the long-term rather than give it all away and gamble on winning right now with a less-than-inspiring future.