NBA

NBA: Harden at the Sixers, Ben Simmons at the Nets, whose good operation?

James Harden, des Nets de Brooklyn, face à Ben Simmons, des 76ers de Philadelphie, le 6 février 2021 à Philadelphie

Tim Nwachukwu GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives

Temps de lecture : 3 mn 🕗

Los Angeles (AFP) – Qui fait la meilleure affaire ? Les Sixers de Philadelphie, ambitieux de la conférence Est, récupèrent James Harden, qui formera un duo All-Stars avec Joel Embiid, en échange de l’indésirable Ben Simmons, envoyé aux Brooklyn Nets, candidats au titre actuellement en souffrance.

Une chose est sûre: Philly, 5e au classement, semble avoir obtenu ce qu’il cherchait en prenant l’initiative de cet échange.

D’abord car la franchise de Pennsylvanie trainait le cas Simmons comme un boulet depuis de nombreux mois. Ce dernier n’a en effet pas encore joué de la saison, résultat d’un bras de fer avec ses désormais ex-dirigeants. Pointé du doigt par l’entraîneur Doc Rivers pour ses performances décevantes lors des derniers play-offs, le joueur, se sentant déprécié, ne voulait plus porter le maillot de Philly, avançant un blocage psychologique.

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Dans quel état de forme mental et physique va-t-il arriver du côté de Brooklyn ? La question se pose, concernant le meneur passeur, trois fois sélectionné au All-Star Game, doté d’un jeu complet, fort défensivement et dont le scoring n’est certes pas le point fort.

Avec lui, débarquent deux joueurs utiles, le meneur-shooteur Seth Curry et le pivot Andre Drummond, ainsi que de deux futurs premiers tours de draft. Mais pour Brooklyn, se concrétise surtout l’échec du projet constitué autour d’un “Big3”, avec les deux autres stars Kevin Durant et Kyrie Irving.

13 mois à Brooklyn

Une stratégie plus aussi payante que par le passé, en témoigne la situation compliquée chez les Lakers, tant la mayonnaise peine à prendre entre James, Anthony Davis et Russell Westbrook, un départ de ce dernier faisant l’objet de spéculations.

James Harden des Nets de Brooklyn contre les Suns de Phoenix, le 1er février 2022 à Phoenix
James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets against the Phoenix Suns, February 1, 2022 in PhoenixChristian Petersen GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives

The Nets’ fire trio only worked with rare sparks during the second part of the previous exercise, then during the first part of the current one, each having been injured in turn, when the Covid did not go away. is not mixed, Irving being always prohibited from playing in New York, because not vaccinated.

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And here, before the last third of the regular season, the Nets in bad shape in the standings since they vegetate in 8th place, synonymous with dams imposed for the play-offs, after nine defeats in a row. A series in progress, which is mainly explained by the absence, for several weeks, of “KD” injured in a knee.

In recent days, Harden, three-time top scorer in the league (2018, 2019, 2020) has shown unusual lapses in attack and has been dragging his sneakers on the floors. Without expressing himself further, his message was clear: he wanted to join the Sixers, even if it meant blurring his image a little more, because he ultimately only stayed 13 months in Brooklyn.

Ibaka go to Bucks

In Philadelphia, “The Beard”, MVP of the 2018 season will find Daryl Morey, his former general manager at the Rockets, who had also unsuccessfully tried to enlist him last year. And above all, he will be associated with the pivot Joel Embiid, currently in very good shape, to the point of being a candidate for the MVP trophy.

This time Doc Rivers will not be able to deplore the absence of a sizeable offensive weapon in his team, which also welcomes veteran winger Paul Millsap in the transaction.

Ben Simmons des 76ers de Philadelphie, ballon en main contre les Spurs de San Antonio, le 3 août 2020 à Lake Buena Vista (Floride)
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, ball in hand against the San Antonio Spurs, on August 3, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista (Florida) Mike Ehrmann GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives

A few hours before the end of the transfer window, it is therefore a very big transfer which is concluded, in the cloud of other more or less notable, because it is likely to upset the race for the coronation in the NBA.

Earlier Wednesday, Serge Ibaka was traded by the Clippers to the defending champions Bucks in a four-team trade. The 32-year-old Spanish center will bolster Milwaukee’s home side alongside star Giannis Antetokounmpo, while Brook Lopez is sidelined with a back injury.

The Bucks have traded fullback Rodney Hood and winger Semi Ojeleye to the Clippers and point guard Donte DiVincenzo to the Sacramento Kings to L.A.

The Wizards traded inside Montrezl Harrell, the best sixth man last year, to the Hornets and traded point guard Spencer Dinwiddie for Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis from the Mavericks.


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