The NBA trade deadline on February 10 came out onto a huge (but expected though) move that sent James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets to the Philadelphia Sixers of Cameroonian center Joel Embiid. Barely one year after having settled down in the Big Apple, the Beard is already leaving a franchise that hardly ever managed to make their Big Three play together: Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant played only sixteen games together with the Nets. Not enough opportunities to shine and build up an alchemy that would have made Brooklyn a legitimate candidate to the Larry O’Brien trophy.
While the Nets are nastily in pain and adding up defeats (an eleventh one was dropped last night against Miami. The Heat, leader of the Eastern Conference, won 115-111, and KD is still injured), things start to take a very good form for Philly with the arrival of a confirmed and experimented player to relieve Joel Embiid a little bit. Making Harden and Embiid play together and share the ball will be the main issue for coach Doc Rivers, who will have to make sure that both (strong) individualities perfectly fill in the collective spirit of the Sixers.
The Cameroonian All-Star, about to go to Cleveland for the ASG in a few days, can be happy to see Harden come and…Ben Simmons leave. The Australian point guard did not play a single game with the Sixers this season and clearly showed his intentions to leave Pennsylvania after having been publicly criticized by his own coach in the last playoffs campaign, where he was blamed for not assuming his responsibilities and failing to take shots when the moment was decisive. Embiid and Simmons, who are not the best friends in the world, it is a story that belongs to the past now. The guard signed with the Nets.
What about the court then? Philadelphia (fifth in the East) beat up Cleveland 103-93 last night with an incredible triple double from Embiid: 40 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in 33 minutes. The first steps of Harden with his fourth franchise after OKC, Houston and Brooklyn, will be examined with attention. Starting next game?