Simmons, the unhappy star who demanded a trade last year, was sent by the Sixers to the Nets along with center Andre Drummond and guard Seth Curry in a deal that included Harden. According to sources with direct knowledge, the Sixers will also get Paul Millsap while the Nets get draft selections.
The people speaking to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity, because the trade was not publicized, confirmed the deal.
This move was made just five days after Steve Nash stated that the Nets would not trade Harden, and only thirteen months after the Nets acquired the 2018 NBA MVP to play alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Harden could have been a free agent, but the Nets decided that it was not worth the risk and ended their Big Three experiment after they played 16 games.
The Sixers are eager to drive the Harden- Joel Embiid partnership.
In the wake of a trade request, Simmons was not drafted by the Sixers. This was due to hurt feelings following last season's playoff defeat. Simmons averaged 15.9 point, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in four seasons with Philadelphia. He was drafted from LSU where he only played one season.
He was a Sixer's defining moment when he turned down a wide-open dunk against Atlanta that would have tied Game 7 in the second round last year.
This was the end of Simmons' Philly time. He was hurt by the comments of coach Doc Rivers, Embiid and others after Game 7 and how he took responsibility for the Sixers' playoff woes.
He refuses to shoot beyond 15ft -- he is a career 3 point shooter in 5 of 34 -- and his postseason failures on the free-throw line seem to have outweighed his playmaking abilities and earned him a spot on the All-Defensive team last season.
Simmons surprised the Sixers by making a surprising return shortly before the season began. However, Simmons was quickly kicked out practice and suspended for one match. It didn't matter what the punishment was, Simmons was still the No. The No. 1 draft pick in 2016 had no plans to play. He later cited mental health concerns.
While trade rumors intensified, Harden was expected to miss his fourth consecutive game on Thursday due to a hamstring strain.
In a January deal, the Nets purchased the Houston Rockets' three-time scoring champion with the hope that Harden Durant, Irving, and Durant would not be able to stop them. Although the Nets were ready to win the title with three of the most highly-paid players in the league, a championship with them was never possible.
Harden and Irving suffered injuries last year, which led to the Nets losing in the second round against eventual champion Milwaukee. The Nets only managed to get two games from their Big Three, with Irving leaving the Nets in December and Durant getting injured in January.
They are now at 10 after Durant injured his left knee. This injury could prevent him from playing until the All-Star break. Harden was made to suffer a lot by Irving being unable to play in home games as he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, which is New York City's mandate. Harden could be a free agent following the season. However, he could still get his $47.3 million player option.
The 76ers will get an MVP-worthy season out of Embiid. Team President Daryl Morey, who was with Houston when Harden played for them, made the deadline agreement to ensure that the Sixers had plenty of money for the championship push. FanDuel Sportsbook shows that the Sixers had 20-1 odds of winning the NBA championship in preseason. However, those odds fell to 7-1.
Embiid is the league's leader in scoring, with 29.4 points. He has also scored at least 25 in each of his 30 games. Philly was under pressure not to lose a season of his prime.
Morey made the trade while keeping Tyrese Maxiey and Matisse Thibulle, two young core players that the Sixers believe will help them win the East. As of Thursday's action, the Sixers were only 1 1/2 games behind first in the Eastern Conference. They will play home matches on Friday and Saturday.
Sixers fans may want to begin saving money for the March 10 match against the Nets. Tickets for the lower bowl were selling for over $1,000, while standing-room tickets to Wells Fargo Center cost almost $200.
Two hours later, a billboard was placed along I-95 to welcome Harden to Philadelphia. The billboard featured Harden's silhouette and the words "The Beard Is Here!"
ESPN reported the news first.
Curry, Rivers' son in law, gives the Nets the outside shooting they need after Joe Harris has returned from ankle surgery. Drummond could play a crucial role on the bench, or start, for a team that has mainly played small.
Steve Nash, Nets coach, said that his team just looks forward and gets excited about the next chapter. This was Thursday night before Brooklyn's game at Washington. "Just be prepared to adapt. Fortunately for us, we have plenty of experience adapting."
New uniform numbers are also part of the new start for deal's biggest stars. Harden's 13 is now retired in Philadelphia by Wilt Chamberlain. Simmons' number is also being retired. The Nets retired 25 for Bill Melchionni.