76ers investigated trade with Bradley Beal before agreeing to trade with James Harden, per. report

The Philadelphia 76ers rocked the league’s landscape in a big way by trading with perennial All-Star James Harden before the trade deadline last month. But before acquiring Harden, the Sixers also explored the possibility of trading with another star guard – Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Sixers “worked” on a potential Beal trade during the season, but shifted gears when Beal chose to undergo wrist surgery that ended the season. From Charania:

The 76ers did their due diligence with the Wizards on Beal throughout the season, but many across the NBA say it was much more than that. Several sources said the 76s worked during the season on a potential trade. Beal faced a decision on whether to force a trade out of Washington, and Philadelphia had a prominent interest by the deadline if he was approved to play from his wrist injury.

The 76ers’ package would have been centered around Simmons and draft picks, sources said. Several teams outside of Philadelphia would have engaged if the Wizards had opened talks, but that never happened. Beal ultimately did not request a trade and underwent a wrist surgery that ended the season on February 10, the day of the deadline.

In the end, the 76ers completed the blockbuster deal for James Harden with the Nets, a move they had pursued in the last year plus and preferred among all others.

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has previously acknowledged that the team actually had another trading opportunity, which they “pretty much researched.” He noted that “for reasons that would reveal who I’m talking about, I can not really say why it somehow changed, but it did change.”

Morey obviously could not name names, but it’s pretty easy to connect the dots after Charania’s report. The Sixers were clearly very interested in Beal, but then went in a different direction when he chose an operation that would put him on the sidelines for the rest of the current campaign. When Joel Embiid played at MVP level, Morey wanted someone who could contribute at a high level to help Embiid this season, and he got that in Harden.

However, the interest does not just disappear. If the Sixers liked the idea of ​​adding Beal a month ago, they still do. That interest is worth keeping in mind as Beal is looking for free agency during high season.

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