• The 76ers thought the trade deal for James Harden was done with the Rockets
  • The Rockets sent the shooting guard to the Brooklyn Nets instead
  • Harden has made an immediate impact as part of the Nets

The Philadelphia 76ers thought they had the trade deal for James Harden in the bag before the Houston Rockets decided to send the shooting guard to the Brooklyn Nets.

It was a blockbuster four-team deal that shocked the NBA and earned the Rockets Victor Oladipo, Rodions Kurucs and Dante Exum along with four first-round draft picks and four first-round pick swaps.

The 76ers were high on Harden’s list of potential trade destinations, and the franchise was ready to offer Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle to land the former MVP.

According to Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, the 76ers’ president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “pushed hard” to reunite with the All-Star cager but in the end lost out to the Nets.

“The Sixers thought they had a deal for Harden done, according to sources. The team won’t come out and say it, but Morey pushed hard to reunite with the 2018 MVP. Simmons and Thybulle were even informed by their agents on Wednesday of an expected trade,” Pompey wrote.

“Another league source said the Rockets never called the Sixers back for a counteroffer before making the four-team blockbuster deal that sent Harden to Brooklyn,” he added.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was said to be against making a trade deal with the 76ers after Morey left the organization to join the Eastern Conference side as president of basketball operations.

The Inquirer report claims that despite his reluctance, Fertitta was willing to go through with the deal if they offered Tyrese Maxey along with Simmons, Thybulle and two draft picks.

However, the 76ers were unwilling to include Maxey in any deal for Harden.

Harden, meanwhile, left a lasting impression in his debut with the Nets as he became the first player in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double in a maiden outing for a new team.

The former Rockets cager has combined for a total of 138 points with fellow All-Star Kevin Durant in their first two games together, which has got the attention of the rest of the league.

NBA experts are now rating the Nets as second favorites behind the Los Angeles Lakers to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season.

James Harden Kevin Durant
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and teammate Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Team LeBron watch on from the bench during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images