Should the 76ers Swap Ben for the Beard? Harden Trade Could Shake Up Futures Odds

Written By Nathan Frederick on December 10, 2020 - Last Updated on August 8, 2022
Sixers 2021-2022 betting preview.

The final card still hasn’t been played.

Maybe it never will be.

But with the NBA preseason only a few days away and the regular season starting in just two weeks, a former MVP remains in flux.

And maybe — just maybe — he could land in Philadelphia.

The Sixers supposedly on James Harden’s short list

Houston Rockets guard James Harden, an eight-time all-star, has asked for a trade to a contender. Brooklyn was reportedly his top choice. But Philadelphia is supposedly in the mix as well.

Max Kellerman discussed the possibility on a recent episode of his radio show.

But Harden, who has averaged more than 30 points per game for the past three seasons, won’t come cheap.

The 76ers will certainly have to send some quality assets back to Houston, perhaps even a star such as Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris.

But many, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, think Philadelphia should go for it.

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76ers futures odds would jump significantly with Harden

The Sixers had an ugly exit from the NBA’s bubble playoffs this past summer. The team’s core hasn’t been able to get over the hump just yet. And the competition from Brooklyn, Boston, Milwaukee and Miami looks pretty imposing.

Currently, FanDuel Sportsbook has the Milwaukee Bucks as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference at +240. The Brooklyn Nets, who should have both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant healthy this season, are +270. Boston is +600, and the Miami Heat, who won the East in the summer playoff bubble, are +700. The Sixers are fifth at +850.

But if Philadelphia could somehow land Harden, that number could change pretty significantly. As long as the Sixers’ roster wasn’t decimated in the trade, the acquisition would likely vault the team into the same stratosphere as the Eastern Conference favorites

Win now? Or later?

James Harden is 31. Ben Simmons is 24, and Tobias Harris is 28.

Is it worth mortgaging a little of the Sixers’ future for a better chance to win now?

That, of course, all depends on who you ask. And it’s likely the same question that is being considered throughout Philadelphia’s front office. Another interesting factor in the Harden chase is that Daryl Morey, who served as the Rockets’ general manager from 2007 to 2020, is now the 76ers’ president of basketball operations.

So Philadelphia will have plenty of background on Harden as it considers making a move.

With or without Harden, 76ers should have a good year

Even if nothing changes, the 76ers are still looking at what should be a successful season. New additions Danny Green and Seth Curry should give Philadelphia more outside shooting than it had last year. Rookie guard Tyrese Maxey from Kentucky is also a source of some hope.

FanDuel Sportsbook has Philadelphia’s season win total set at 42.5 in what the league hopes will be a 70-game season. Other futures bets for the Sixers are as follows (pricing is provided by FanDuel):

  • To make the playoffs: -650
  • To win the NBA Championship: +2400
  • Joel Embiid to win MVP: +3000
  • Ben Simmons to win MVP: +10000
  • Joel Embiid to win Defensive Player of the Year: +1100
  • Ben Simmons to win Defensive Player of the Year: +1600
  • Tyrese Maxey to win Rookie of the Year: +3600

Preseason games start Friday night

The NBA preseason begins tomorrow with a five-game slate that includes a crosstown contest between the Los Angeles Clippers and the new-look Lakers at 10 p.m.

The Sixers play their first game on Tuesday in a matchup with the Boston Celtics on TNT at 7:30 p.m. Betting is also live on the team’s first regular-season game, a Dec. 23 contest with Washington (+7.5) and new Wizard Russell Westbrook.

So basketball season, which is already quite busy thanks to college hoops, will provide even more action — and wagering options too — in the weeks ahead.

There’s a lot to be excited about.

Including some things that haven’t even happened yet.

The final card still hasn’t been played.

Lead image: AP Photo/Ashley Landis

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Nathan Frederick

Nathan Frederick is an award-winning writer with more than 1,000 published bylines and two decades of journalism experience. His work has won awards from the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists, the Keystone Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has also authored three books, one of which debuted as an Amazon No. 1 New Release.

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