Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said the team will not trade Ben Simmons amid growing links to Houston Rockets star James Harden.
Former NBA MVP Harden reportedly wants to be traded to either the 76ers or Eastern Conference rivals the Brooklyn Nets.
There have reportedly been talks between the Rockets and 76ers, with Houston eyeing two-time All-Star and former number one pick Simmons as part of any potential deal.
However, former Rockets general manager Morey insisted the 76ers have no plans to part with Simmons as Philadelphia continue to build around the Australian and Joel Embiid.
"We are not trading Ben Simmons — he is an important part of our future," Morey, who spent 13 years in Houston before leaving at the end of 2019-20, told The Athletic.
Simmons averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds as the 76ers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round of last season's playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort.
The 24-year-old – who signed a five-year, $170million max contract prior to 2019-20 – is an elite defender and creator with unrivalled pace, but his shooting struggles have left him stuck between a star and superstar.
There have been signs of a shooter behind all of his usual brilliance, however Simmons' jump-shot is too few and far between.
Previously compared to LeBron James, Simmons does not shoot threes or free throws well – his career free-throw percentage of 59.3 is the worst in NBA history by a guard with at least 1,000 attempts.
And his career three-point percentage (two-for-24, 8.3) is the lowest among all guards who debuted in the NBA in 2000 or later (minimum 20 attempts).
In 2019-20, points scored by Harden and points scored off his assists averaged 52.4 per game. It followed 53.9 in 2018-19, 51.3 in 2017-18 and 56 the season previous.
That marked four successive seasons with 50-plus points per game created, tying Oscar Robertson (1963-64 to 1966-67) for the longest streak in NBA history.
Harden averaged 34.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game for the Rockets, who lost in the Western Conference semi-finals.