Philadelphia 76ers: A 4-team, blockbuster trade involving James Harden

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Trade overview

Consisting of four teams, eight players and multiple draft picks, here’s the overview of the deal, which works out financially on the ESPN Trade Machine:

Philadelphia 76ers

Most certain to opt out his contract this summer, Jimmy Butler would need to be moved via a sign-and-trade arrangement in order for the trade to be facilitated. Unquestionably the best-performing Sixer this postseason, parting ways with Butler would not be done lightly.

However, soon to be 30, the prospect of paying Butler a maximum contract extension would naturally be seen as highly risky, particularly given his injury history.

As for Simmons, this is clearly an enormous risk, with his unlimited upside plain to see. However, his fit with Embiid leaves many questions to answer, in particular whether or not he will eventually develop a perimeter game.

In bringing aboard James Harden, the Sixers would simply be forming one of the most lethal one-two punches in Harden and Joel Embiid. If they were able to come to terms with Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick, the Sixers would be promise to be an offensive juggernaut with Harden steering the ship.

In addition to the Beard, the Sixers also receive veteran center Nene Hilario to serve as a capable backup to Embiid.

Houston Rockets

This is certainly an enormous risk for the Rockets’ front office. Not only are they moving on from reigning MVP James Harden, they are adding a superstar in Anthony Davis with just one year remaining on his current deal. Furthermore, one may ask why the Rockets would blow things up considering the possibility the Golden State Warriors could very well be without Kevin Durant for next season?

However, with the clear unrest in the organization (assistant coaches departing, head coach in contract dispute), and the fact that Harden and Chris Paul’s relationship appears fractured at best, dealing away Harden while he’s at his absolute maximum value would represent general manager Daryl Morey’s most daring move of his tenure. After all, Davis’ resume at just 26 years of age stacks up with the very best.

In what’s already been enormously documented, Davis demanded a trade away from the New Orleans Pelicans, primarily due to their lack of success in the postseason, and the want to play in a larger market.

While Davis would be arriving in Houston sans Harden, Morey and the rest of the Rockets’ hierarchy would nonetheless have a large selling point to Davis. In essence, they only need to point to their track record in building legitimate contenders when trying to convince Davis that Houston can be his home for many years to come.

Although Paul and the $120 million he’s owed would be extremely tough to move, the likes of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker would all have terrific value on the open market when contemplating pieces to put around Davis for the future.

On the surface, the Rockets would not be at the top Davis’ wish list entering the summer. However, one only needs to look at the Paul George situation in Oklahoma City, and Kawhi Leonard’s current success in Toronto, to realize that circumstances can quickly change once a player becomes acclimated with his new home.

Given Morey’s proven reputation, and the fact the franchise has made the postseason the past seven seasons, the risk involved here could certainly pay off for the Rockets.

In addition to Davis, young shooting guard Denzel Valentine also finds himself as a Rocket.

New Orleans Pelicans

With a full offseason to examine offers from around the league, this deal provides the Pelicans with a multitude of advantages. Firstly, they receive a genuine All-Star and proven playoff performer in Jimmy Butler. Considering the difficulty in landing big-name free agents, Butler’s addition would be an enormous boon for the franchise.

Secondly, Markkanen’s ability to stretch the floor at 7’0″ would serve as an amazing complement to the most likely incoming Zion Williamson. Furthermore, the addition of another lottery pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft can only help further cement the future of their roster.

Given the circumstances facing them, rolling out a starting lineup featuring Jrue Holiday, Butler, Markkanen and Williamson would certainly not do any harm for the Pelicans’ home attendance, which ranked 26th overall last season, and has consistently ranked among the bottom in the league for multiple seasons.

Chicago Bulls

Granted, a young core of Markannen, Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. is certainly something for the Bulls to work with. But at the end of the day, how many total All-Star appearances would this trio likely make?

In Simmons, they would be welcoming aboard a 22-year-old fresh off his first All-Star appearance who possesses one of the greater upsides in the league. A 6’10” generational point guard surrounded by sharpshooters such as LaVine and Porter would certainly generate significant interest for a franchise that has disappointed enormously over the past two seasons.

While giving up Markkanen, the No. 7 overall pick, and another young, promising player in Denzel Valentine is a large sum to pay, a player of Simmons’ caliber and potential would be very hard to knock back, especially since the Bulls need a point guard.

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Reminder: This type of deal is virtually certain to never occur, and should be treated as such. Instead, it’s being rolled out to generate a debate, and to give a strong point of view for each team involved.