NBA

NBA trade deadline: 76ers solve their Simmons conundrum with blockbuster Harden swoop

By Sports Desk February 10, 2022

The Philadelphia 76ers solved their Ben Simmons conundrum with a blockbuster trade for James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets before the NBA trade deadline passed on Thursday. 

Simmons has refused to play for the Sixers this season after coach Doc Rivers and center Joel Embiid were critical of his performances in the Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks last season. 

Philadelphia had been trying to trade the fifth-year guard/forward ever since, but the former Rookie of the Year's value plummeted after he came up short against the Hawks. 

However, according to multiple reports a deal was finally struck to send Simmons to Brooklyn in exchange for the 2018 NBA MVP Harden. Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, an unprotected 2022 first-round pick and a protected 2027 first-round pick were also sent to the Nets, with Paul Millsap going in the opposite direction. 

Harden can become a free agent in the offseason, while Simmons is under contract until 2025 after signing a five-year, $177.2million deal in 2019.

While the 76ers seemingly boosted their chances of contending by adding Harden, the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors remained idle. However, there were still plenty of other deals reported on Thursday.

 

Mavericks move on from Porzingis

The Luka Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis era is over in Dallas.

The Mavs sent Porzingis and a second-round pick to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.

Injuries have continued to trouble the 7ft 3in center, who averaged 20 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in two and a half seasons in Dallas.

Kings trade Bagley, Bucks get Ibaka 

The Sacramento Kings made Marvin Bagley III the second overall pick in the 2018 draft but brought an end to his time in California as part of a seven-player, four-team trade. 

Bagley was sent to the Detroit Pistons, with Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles going to Sacramento. The Kings also received Donte DiVincenzo from the Milwaukee Bucks, who swapped Serge Ibaka for Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood. The reigning NBA champions also received two future second-round picks and cash considerations. 

Bagley has started just 17 games for Sacramento this season, averaging 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game.

Celtics bring Theis back, send Schroder to Houston

Daniel Theis is back for a second spell with the Boston Celtics.

Less than a year after he was traded to the Chicago Bulls by the Celtics, Theis was brought back from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando. Freedom is expected to be waived by the Rockets, though.

Boston also sent Bol Bol and PJ Dozier, who are both out for the season, to the Orlando Magic and offloaded Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford to the San Antonio Spurs. The Celtics' brought in Derrick White.

Elsewhere...

Goran Dragic's time with the Toronto Raptors is up after he was traded to the Spurs for Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks – whom they were set to waive – and a 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick. Dragic is expected to be bought out, with the Chicago Bulls, Mavs, Bucks, Warriors, Nets and Clippers all credited with an interest.

The Charlotte Hornets added Montrezl Harrel from the Wizards. Ish Smith and Vernon Carey Jr went the other way. 

Torrey Craig is back with the Phoenix Suns following a deal that saw Jalen Smith land with the Indiana Pacers. Aaron Holiday was also acquired from the Wizards.

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  • Inter Miami v Chicago Fire: Messi missing again as title tilt continues Inter Miami v Chicago Fire: Messi missing again as title tilt continues

    Inter Miami will again be without injured superstar Lionel Messi as they look to continue on their course for the Supporters' Shield on Saturday.

    Miami will host Chicago Fire with Messi absent, just as he was for the midweek home win over Toronto FC.

    "Leo will continue to be evaluated by our medical staff week to week," coach Tata Martino said.

    "We will see how he recuperates without taking any type of risk."

    Messi suffered an ankle injury while on Copa America duty with Argentina, winning that competition but appearing to hamper Inter's title hopes in the process.

    But Martino's men are still well placed to achieve their goals, starting with the regular-season championship.

    With victory over Toronto, in which Federico Redondo took centre stage with two goals, Miami became the first team to reach 50 points this season.

    They have achieved that feat within 24 games, joining esteemed company. The only six teams to previously tally 50 points inside 24 games have gone on to win the Supporters' Shield.

    Next opponents Chicago at least head into this encounter off the back of a win of their own, beating FC Cincinnati on the road on Wednesday.

    "When you come on the road and get a result like this, it's a great team effort," said Fire coach Frank Klopas.

    "Certain guys are playing really well at the moment, but I still feel that everyone can give more. There's a lot more potential in there with the group.

    "That's why this game on Saturday is so massive for us."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Inter Miami – Federico Redondo

    Miami may be missing Messi, but the supporting cast has consistently stepped up this season. They have had four different players score two or more goals in a match, tied for the most in MLS.

    The latest of those was Redondo, scoring his first goals in MLS against Toronto. With an assist in that game, too, he will hope that is the start of a strong run of game.

    Chicago Fire – Brian Gutierrez

    The Fire have had just three goals from substitutes in 2024, yet two of those have been among their past three goals. The latest, their winner against Cincy, saw Gutierrez emerge from the bench to score.

    The midfielder will not want that to develop into a consistent theme, however, surely preferring to play from the start. He had done so in each prior game going back to April.

    MATCH PREDICTION: INTER MIAMI WIN

    Chicago have actually won four of their six games against Miami, including the past three in a row.

    But New York City FC are the only team to further extend such a streak against Miami, and their run of five straight victories ended back in 2022. Miami are a very different prospect in 2024.

    Their stretch of scoring in 10 consecutive MLS matches is a club record, with their tally of 19 goals across those games showing the task that lies before Chicago – with or without Messi.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Inter Miami – 64.2%
    Chicago Fire – 16.7%
    Draw – 19.1%

  • Seattle Sounders v Los Angeles FC: Hosts 'flying' with win in 'massive game', says Schmetzer Seattle Sounders v Los Angeles FC: Hosts 'flying' with win in 'massive game', says Schmetzer

    The Seattle Sounders will be "flying" if they can beat Los Angeles FC on Saturday.

    That was the message from coach Brian Schmetzer, who is relishing a huge occasion at Lumen Field, where the Sounders have been outstanding.

    Seattle are on a five-game winning run in MLS, with four of those matches coming at home. They have lost in Seattle only once this year, back in April.

    After a slow start, there are now only five teams above them in the Western Conference, but one of those are LAFC.

    It was a defeat in Los Angeles that set in motion the Sounders' five-game winless run to start the campaign, while their 2023 season ended with a defeat to LAFC at Lumen Field.

    Seattle should not be short of motivation then, and Schmetzer is now shying away from the significance of this game.

    "Saturday is such a big game against LAFC," Schmetzer said. "Everyone needs to come out and show up.

    "This is a massive game for us. We've only lost twice in 18 games. That's pretty darn good if you ask me.

    "We come out with a result on Saturday, and we're flying."

    A win would close the gap between sixth-placed Seattle and second-placed LAFC to just four points, with this weekend's visitors wobbling in recent weeks against elite opposition.

    The performance in the midweek draw with Real Salt Lake was merely "a little better" than in the prior humbling 5-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew, according to coach Steve Cherundolo.

    "No, I was not happy with the performance [against RSL]," he said.

    LAFC had won nine of their previous 10 ahead of the Columbus game.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Seattle Sounders – Albert Rusnak

    Rusnak assisted Jon Bell's first Seattle goal in the midweek win over St Louis City, continuing his fine form. That was his sixth consecutive home match in which he had registered a goal contribution.

    Obafemi Martins is the only Sounders player with a longer such streak in a single regular season, with a seven-game run in 2014.

    Los Angeles FC – Mateusz Bogusz

    Olivier Giroud officially became an LAFC player this week, but Bogusz has contributed handily while the team have waited for the World Cup winner to arrive.

    Bogusz has contributed to goals in each of his past five away matches, the longest active streak in MLS. Only Carlos Vela has had goal contributions in more consecutive road games in the regular season for LAFC (six matches in 2018).

    MATCH PREDICTION: LAFC WIN

    Across MLS and the US Open Cup, the Sounders have won six games in a row, their longest winning run since a streak of the same length ended in MLS Cup glory in 2019.

    But LAFC are the Sounders' bogey side right now. They have won three in a row against Seattle and are unbeaten in seven in this fixture.

    The Rave Green have not beaten LAFC since May 2021, and Saturday's visitors will hope to provide another reality check.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Seattle Sounders – 32.1%
    Los Angeles FC – 42.5%
    Draw – 25.4%

  • Clippers trading Westbrook to Jazz, clearing move for guard to join Nuggets Clippers trading Westbrook to Jazz, clearing move for guard to join Nuggets

    Russell Westbrook is on the move once again, but isn't yet at his final destination.

    The Los Angeles Clippers agreed to send Westbrook to the Utah Jazz on Thursday, as part of a sign-and-trade deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    The Jazz are expected to reach a contract buyout agreement with Westbrook, opening the door for him to join the Denver Nuggets.

    Denver will be the sixth team Westbrook has played for in the last seven seasons.

    To complete the trade, Utah will also receive a swap of second-round draft picks and cash from Los Angeles, while shipping guard Kris Dunn to the Clippers.

    The 35-year-old Westbrook was named the NBA MVP in 2016-17, averaging a career-high 31.6 points, along with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists.

    In 2023-24 for the Clippers, he averaged career lows of 11.1 points and 4.5 assists with 5 boards. He came off the bench in 57 of the 68 games he played, shooting 27.3 per cent from 3-point range - the second-lowest mark among the 226 players with at least 150 attempts from beyond the arc.

    The Nuggets still believe he can provide depth off the bench and help them make another run at a title after being eliminated in the Western Conference semi-finals in May.

    The Clippers were ousted by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, with Westbrook averaging 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in the six play-off games.

    In 1,162 games in a 16-year career, Westbrook has averages of 21.7 points, 8.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds. His 199 career triple-doubles are the most in NBA history.

    Dunn has career averages of 7.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.3 boards since being drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2016.

    In starting 32 of 66 games for the Jazz last season, the 30-year-old Dunn averaged 5.4 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds.

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