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Ben Simmons twist in former NBA MVP's trade demand

Ben Simmons could be on the move if a potential blockbuster NBA trade becomes reality.
Ben Simmons has been brought up as a central piece in a potential trade for former NBA MVP James Harden, who wants out of Houston. Pictures: Getty Images
Ben Simmons has been brought up as a central piece in a potential trade for former NBA MVP James Harden, who wants out of Houston. Pictures: Getty Images

Australian NBA star Ben Simmons’ name has been linked to a blockbuster trade for wantaway Houston Rockets guard and former MVP James Harden.

Trade rumours have been swirling around Harden since the three-time scoring champion showed up late to Rockets training camp earlier this week, having instead spent several days partying in Las Vegas and elsewhere across America.

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Harden has requested a trade away from the Rockets, despite signing a four-year, $170 million (USD) contract in 2017, which would have taken him through to the 2022/23 season.

He initially named the Brooklyn Nets, who signed former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency the season prior, as his preferred destination, but has since added Simmons’ Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat, and the Milwaukee Bucks to the list.

Any trade featuring his monster contract will be difficult to assemble but Philadelphia could be the best fit, with Simmons’ own hefty contract and high value as a player likely be tempting for the Rockets.

New York Times reporter Marc Stein posted on Twitter that the 76ers, who recruited ex-Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to join their front office over the off-season, were the most likely trade partner for Houston.

“As the NBA pre-season begins tonight Philadelphia ranks as the most likely destination when the Rockets eventually reach the point of trading James Harden, league sources say,” Stein wrote.

“The Rockets insist (for now) they will not trade Harden.

“The Sixers insist (for now) they will not trade Ben Simmons. But sources say the familiarity between the front offices can ultimately defuse any lingering tension from Daryl Morey’s departure from Houston to Philadelphia.”

Both teams will have until the trade deadline in late March to work out a mid-season deal, or wait until next year to get it done in the off-season, should they choose to make a move.

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Kyrie Irving fined by NBA over media silence

The NBA is making Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets pay for the point guard's silence.

The league fined Irving and the team $25,000 ($33,000) apiece Thursday because he has refused to speak to the media thus far during the preseason.

In announcing the fines, the NBA said Irving refused on several occasions this week to participate in team media availability.

Irving has had a complicated relationship with the media and was nearly fined by the NBA last season for not speaking as obligated while sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was fined $25,000 by the NBA after refusing to take part in media obligations. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was fined $25,000 by the NBA after refusing to take part in media obligations. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was fined $25,000 by the NBA after refusing to take part in media obligations. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

This time, Irving has not spoken during any of the Nets' press sessions, all being held via Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He released a statement through his publicist last Friday to address his media silence, saying he wanted to ensure his message was conveyed properly.

"I am committed to show up to work everyday, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organisation.

"My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself," Irving said.

"Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change."

With AAP

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