Sixers: Grading the James Harden, Ben Simmons trade

James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Sixers made waves at the trade deadline, acquiring James Harden (and Paul Millsap) from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks. The deal was the culmination of many patient months for Daryl Morey, whose steadfast commitment to holding out for a superstar clearly paid off.

It also puts an end to months of drama surrounding Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played since his epic flameout in game seven of the conference semifinals last season. Simmons’ trade request was an ongoing topic of conversation, even if the Sixers expertly weathered the storm without him.

Now, Philadelphia has arguably two top-10 players in Joel Embiid and James Harden, while the Nets balance out a previously lopsided roster and add arguably the best defender in basketball. It’s a trade that has been widely disputed already, with some lobbying for the Sixers, and others claiming Brooklyn made out likes bandits. Others simply fall somewhere in the middle.

The Sixers’ trade for James Harden ushers in a new era of contention

There’s no denying that Philadelphia is now better positioned to contend for a championship. Simmons’ holdout had deprived Embiid of his best running mate, and left the Sixers with $33 million in salary going down the drain. Harden is an expensive player, and a much older one, but he’s also supremely gifted. So far this season, he is averaging 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 10.2 assists on 41.4 percent shooting (33.2 percent from 3-point range).

That being said, how does this trade grade out for the Sixers…