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.

A four-team trade deal between the Detroit Pistons, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Sacramento Kings will include Marvin Bagley III heading to the Pistons and Serge Ibaka being picked up by the Bucks, according to reports.

Donte DiVincenzo is among the players heading to the Kings, while the Clippers receive Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye from Milwaukee.

Bagley, who was the second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, averaged 13.5 points and 7.4 rebounds with the Kings having faced numerous injuries and struggled to fully establish himself in Sacramento.

Ibaka will join the Bucks as the NBA champions add someone with Finals experience from his time at the Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder. The 32-year-old averages 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 35 games this season.

The Bucks also receive two future second-round draft picks as well as cash considerations.

Sacramento, who only added Domantas Sabonis in a trade with Indiana on Tuesday, procured DiVincenzo from Milwaukee, as well as Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles from Detroit.

DiVincenzo has an average of 7.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his 17 games so far this season, while Lyles is currently enjoying a career-best average of 10.4 points this year.

Hood and Ojeleye bolster the Clippers' depth having only featured from the bench this season for Milwaukee.

The Los Angeles Clippers will be unable to call on Serge Ibaka for the remainder of the NBA playoffs after he underwent surgery on a back injury.

Ibaka had missed the previous seven games, but with the Clippers already 2-0 down in their series to the Utah Jazz, his campaign is now over.

The 31-year-old's first season with the Clippers has been hampered by back problems and he missed 30 straight games during the regular season, though the team confirmed the surgery, which took place on Thursday, was a success.

"There is nothing I would love more than being on the court helping my brothers and trying to win a championship," Ibaka posted on his official Instagram account.

"It's been a very tough season, I worked very hard to be back in time for the playoffs but sometimes injuries get in the way and health has to be a priority.

"I appreciate all the love and support from everyone and now I have my mindset on supporting my team and getting healthy and ready for next season."

Across 41 regular season games in 2020-21, Ibaka averaged 11.1 points, 1.8 assists and 6.7 rebounds.

The Clippers face the Jazz in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series on Saturday.

The high-flying Los Angeles Clippers will try to keep their winning streak alive in the NBA with much of their star power on the bench. 

Amid a six-game winning streak, the Clippers will be missing Paul George (rest) and Serge Ibaka (back tightness) for Wednesday's game against the lowly Detroit Pistons.

Kawhi Leonard (sore foot) and Patrick Beverley (hand) will also continue to sit out as their injuries heal.

Clippers star Leonard has missed the last two games, while Beverley has been absent for three consecutive outings.

Despite their injury woes, the Clippers (38-18) enter the game with the longest active winning streak in the league. 

George, who is continuing to work his way back from a toe injury, contributed 36 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in Tuesday's victory over the Indiana Pacers. 

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