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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    Phil Neville is hoping Portland Timbers can build some momentum with back-to-back victories when they take on Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday.

    The Timbers recovered from two goals down at half-time to beat San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 in their most recent match, snapping a three-game losing run and a nine-match wait for three points.

    Portland are now back up to 11th in the Western Conference, but Neville accepts there is plenty to do if his side are to challenge for a play-off spot.

    "The spirit in that second half [against San Jose] was bigger than anything I've seen in football, and I've seen an awful lot in football," Neville said. 

    "Those supporters willed the team, willed the ball into the back of the net and that’s what makes me proud to be the manager of this football club. We've got a hell of a lot of work to do. It's a big job and one we'll succeed in.”

    Minnesota played out a 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy in their most recent match, as they let slip a half-time lead to trail 2-1 before hitting back late on.

    The Loons have now won three and drawn one of their past four games and are second in the West after an impressive start to life under head coach Eric Ramsay.

    The Welshman was particularly pleased with his side's first-half performance against Galaxy and is hoping for a full-90 performance when Portland visit.

    "I think that's the most complete performance that we've had since I've been here," he told reporters. 

    "We're really frustrated overall because it's a game you felt we had complete control of at half-time. I just felt we've taken our foot off their neck in the second half."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Minnesota United - Bongokuhle Hlongwane

    Hlongwane opened the scoring for Minnesota in the four-goal draw with Galaxy and enjoys playing against next opponents Portland.

    Indeed, the South Africa international has scored in his first three MLS matches against the Timers - the only player in MLS history to do so.

    Portland Timbers - Maxime Crepeau

    The Timbers may have defeated San Jose in midweek, but they conceded multiple goals for a ninth straight game, equalling the longest streak in a single season in MLS history.

    While it is down to the whole defensive unit to keep the opposition out, goalkeeper Crepeau's save percentage of 62 is the second lowest in MLS this season, behind only St. Louis City SC's Roman Burki (61.9 per cent) 

    MATCH PREDICTION: MINNESOTA UNITED WIN

    Minnesota have won eight of their 13 regular-season meetings with the Timbers, averaging exactly two points per match in those games - the best of any Western Conference team against Portland since United joined MLS in 2017.

    The Loons have lost only two of their opening 11 matches this season - never previously have they lost fewer than four games at this stage - and have scored multiple goals in each of their past four outings. 

    Portland showed great spirit in fighting back against San Jose - it was the second latest a team has come from two goals down in an MLS match to win by multiple goals - but that is only one of three wins in 13 MLS games this term.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Minnesota United - 48.9%
    Draw - 26.6%
    Portland Timbers - 24.5%

  • 'We played harder' – Carlisle proud of Pacers' efforts after Indiana force Game 7 'We played harder' – Carlisle proud of Pacers' efforts after Indiana force Game 7

    Rick Carlisle hailed the efforts of his Indiana Pacers players after they forced their playoff series with the New York Knicks to Game 7.

    Carlisle challenged his players directly in the wake of their loss in Game 5, which put them 3-2 down in the series.

    And the Pacers responded with a fine display in a 116-103 victory, which sees the series go down to the wire, with Game 7 set for Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

    "It was just activity. We played harder tonight, which was a must," Carlisle said.

    "We moved the ball better and we got more rebounds, and that's obviously a big key to the series.

    "We gotta brace for Sunday. And we must be ready."

    Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and nine assists for the Pacers, and said: "Coaches challenged our effort, I think that was the biggest thing.

    "We had some boneheaded things happen [in Game 5].

    "He [Carlisle] just really challenged our group [players] 1-15 on how can we be better."

    Jalen Brunson finished with 31 points for the Knicks, but he was not overly impressed by his own performance. 

    "They try to make things difficult," Brunson said. "And I have to adjust as well. Show me different looks and I have to do a better job of reading it."

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    Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Myles Turner added 17 as the Indiana Pacers rolled to a 116-103 victory over the New York Knicks to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday.

    Andrew Nembhard, Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell each added 15 points, with Nembhard grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. Haliburton had nine assists as the Pacers remained perfect in six home games in this postseason.

    The winner of Game 7 in New York on Sunday will advance to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jalen Bruson scored 31 points on 11-of-26 shooting after missing his final 11 shots in the first half. Deuce McBride added 20 points with four 3-pointers as the Knicks fell to 0-3 on the road in this series.

    Already decimated by injuries, the Knicks lost starting forward Josh Hart in the fourth quarter due to abdominal soreness.

    Hart was seen holding his midsection multiple times during the game and asked to be taken out after he had five points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.

    New York is already without All-Star Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic.

    Indiana used a 14-6 run in the third quarter to take control, turning a 61-56 lead into a 75-62 advantage. The Pacers maintained at least a 10-point edge the rest of the way.

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