It finally happened. James Harden is a 76er and Ben Simmons is a Net. What a wild, very dramatic and entirely on-brand chaos-filled NBA trade deadline.
By now, you know all the deets. Seth Curry and Andre Drummond are in Brooklyn, and Paul Millsap followed Harden out. It’s been a week and neither Harden nor Simmons have played for their new teams, though each franchise made sure to be extra spicy and post videos of their new players after their breakups. Harden even… wore this
Now that it’s NBA All-Star Weekend and all of our faves are resting, let’s check up on what this trade means for the future of the Eastern Conference.
Philly was a top seed in the East even with Simmons sidelined for the entire year. Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate, and we, as fans, have long been wanting to see him paired with a superstar who will elevate his powers.
Harden is that guy, and considering Simmons wasn’t playing anyway, this trade allowed the Sixers to upgrade big-time on the wing (no offense, Seth) while only losing a backup big on the court.
Philly’s trade for Harden is a win and that’s reflected in the team’s futures odds to win the 2022 title skyrocketing from +1300 (bet $100 → win $1,300) to +750 (bet $100 → $750). If you bet on the Sixers pre-Harden, congrats!
This is a really tough question to answer considering, well, a few things. For one, we haven’t seen Ben Simmons play since last year’s playoffs. It’ll take time for him to acclimate to not only playing in the NBA again, but also playing for an entirely new team.
He’s also been dealing with mental health issues, and will wait to return to the court until he’s ready.
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant is still nursing an MCL sprain and Kyrie Irving can’t play in … half of his team’s games.
It makes sense that the Simmons-for-Harden swap didn’t change Brooklyn’s title odds, which sit at +425 (bet $100 → win $425). But those already felt pretty high to start with.
Eight days after the blockbuster trade, it appears that the window for securing favorable odds on the Nets and Sixers has closed. If anything, each Giannis Antetokounmpo 50-point game is making me wonder if we’re overthinking the repeat at +700 (bet $100 → win $700).