A little over a week ago, the NBA closed the trade market down for the rest of the season. A couple of hours before the cap was put on, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets engaged in the biggest trade of the year as they swapped stars.
Ben Simmons, who has been disgruntled all season long, has held out for a trade from the Sixers. James Harden wasn't in the exact same position with the Nets but he was definitely questioning his future in Brooklyn for the past few weeks leading up to the trade deadline last Thursday.
Once Brooklyn's front office realized that Harden wasn't buying into the team and didn't have any plans to opt-in or re-sign this summer, the Nets looked to acquire several pieces for him. The Sixers sent away Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and a couple of picks away to the Nets for Harden and Paul Millsap.
In the eyes of Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green, the Sixers lost the deal. Not because of the Harden-Simmons swap -- but mostly because Seth Curry was involved in the trade.
"Even bigger than the picks for me was Seth Curry," said Green, according to Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. "I just didn’t think Philly would be trading Seth Curry. Especially the way James Harden plays, you’ve seen shooters around him that can catch and knock the shot down and with Joel Embiid, I mean, you always want to pair a big man with a shooter just in case they’re trying to double team, you can’t help on Seth Curry. So that takes one guy out of the picture and so with them putting that team together, I was really shocked that they gave up Seth Curry."
Trading away the three-time All-Star Ben Simmons was likely nothing to the Sixers considering he made it clear he wouldn't play for them again.
However, moving Curry was probably difficult -- but it was also a no-brainer. From the start of Philly and Brooklyn's negotiations, it became clear that Curry had to be in the deal for the Nets. Without the veteran sharpshooter in the package, the Nets didn't feel like they were getting great value in return for a ten-time All-Star.
Would the Sixers have loved to keep Curry, who knocked down 40-percent of his threes in 45 games this year, to pair up with James Harden? Of course. But without Curry on the table, the Sixers don't land James Harden. And with an absent Ben Simmons, this version of Curry, and Andre Drummond backing up Joel Embiid, the Sixers aren't championship contenders.
It's unclear if the Harden acquisition truly moves the needle for Philadelphia or not, but it's a gamble they had to be willing to take. On paper, Green believes the Sixers lost the deal. Whether that's true or not won't be known until Harden and Simmons play for their new teams after the All-Star break.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.