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February 10, 2022

Sixers, NBA fans react to blockbuster James Harden trade, end of Ben Simmons era in Philly

Good riddance, Ben Simmons. The Philadelphia 76ers pulled the trigger on a franchise-altering trade deadline deal with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire veteran superstar James Harden, who will now pair up with Joel Embiid in pursuit of an NBA title.

The trade marks the culmination of a months-long saga surrounding Simmons, the former No. 1 overall draft pick and Rookie of the Year who failed to develop a jump shot and then requested a trade after critical comments from Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid following a Game 7 loss to the Hawks, leaving Daryl Morey the task of finding the right exit strategy. 

Harden, a former league MVP, makes Philadelphia his third home in the span of two years after Brooklyn's big three pairing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving failed to pan out for an assortment of reasons. 

Philadelphia gave up fan favorite Seth Curry, a reliable backup center in Andre Drummond and a pair of future first-round picks in the deal for Harden, 32, who has already reportedly opted in to his player option for next season and is in line for a massive contract extension. Philadelphia did not have to part with either of its young talents in Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle.

The two teams will meet at the Wells Fargo Center on March 10, so you can circle the date for Philadelphia's maniacal welcome to Simmons, assuming he plays. 

The emotions of Sixers fans are all over the place right now, but the overwhelming sentiment is joy and relief that the Simmons nightmare is finally at an endpoint. Sure, Philadelphia will still have to deal with Benny and the Nets (you're welcome, Brooklyn headline writers), but the relentless news cycle around Simmons' entitled cowardice can be mostly put to rest. It'll be academic, from here forward.

Joel Embiid reacted to the deal with a powerfully coded statement. The original caption on the meme he shared below is, "I stopped by one of my biggest haters' funeral today just to make sure that [redacted] was dead." So, you know, damn. 

As Philadelphia, Brooklyn and the rest of the NBA universe process the trade, here's a look at some of the best reactions to the trade.