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As the NBA trade deadline inches closer, the rumor mill is beginning to heat up as always. For months, Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has been the top prospect available for a trade. As the Sixers have yet to find a deal worth making, they've held onto the three-time All-Star in hopes that another star becomes available.

The Sixers had eyes for Damian Lillard months ago, but he won't be moving anywhere this season as he remains loyal to Portland and off the court due to an injury. As for Washington's Bradley Beal, he's likely to stick around at least until the end of the 2021-2022 NBA season.

There aren't too many realistic options out there for the Sixers, but James Harden's name has now become one that's frequently linked to Philadelphia once again. As Harden showed interest in possibly joining the Sixers last season, Daryl Morey and Philly's front office seem to have hopes they can finally make a reunion happen.

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But first, Harden has to decide on his future in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. Recent rumors have indicated that Harden is frustrated and open to the idea of considering a fresh start beyond this season. While he might be frustrated, Harden is downplaying the idea that he wants to move on from the Nets.

Harden's Reaction

Following Brooklyn's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Harden addressed the recent reports publicly for the first time. 

"I don't know about any reports," Harden claimed. "There's just a lot of inconsistency for whatever reason, injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it. It's frustrating, and I think everybody in this organization is frustrated because we are better than what our record is, and we should be on the way up. So that's all it is. I don't know about any reports. If you didn't hear it from me, I don't talk to nobody. I don't have an agent. If you didn't hear it from me, then it's reports."

Ever since he rejected an extension offer from Brooklyn, Harden has denied having any intentions of moving on from the Nets. Whether that will change or not remains to be seen as there is plenty of basketball left to be played.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.