Thursday’s NBA trade deadline is less than 30 hours away and despite his best efforts, Ben Simmons remains a Sixer.

Will Simmons still be one at 3 p.m on Thursday? That depends who you listen to. Those answers vary from “certainly not” to “probably not” to “well, maybe.”

Ultimately, it will come down to what Brooklyn Nets star James Harden wants. If Harden, who has a $47.4 million player option for next season, does not want to play for the Nets, the team needs to trade him or get nothing in return. If Harden does want to stay, the Nets would be happy to keep him and continue to build around him and Kevin Durant. But what does Harden want?

David Murphy talks himself through every angle of the situation to try and determine whether Simmons will be traded for Harden before Thursday’s deadline or not.

There’s a number of reasons it could still go either way.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

Would James Harden and Joel Embiid be a 1-2 tandem capable of leading the Sixers to an NBA title? Why or why not? Tell us at sports.daily@inquirer.com.

Off the Dribble

Joel Embiid can’t count how many teammates he has played with since joining the 76ers in the 2014 NBA draft. In fact, only six players — including Embiid and Ben Simmons — remain on the roster from the 2019-20 season.

Embiid discussed the business side of the NBA with the trade deadline right around the corner, Keith Pompey reports. “Oh, it’s been crazy,” Embiid said. “I mean, I came [in] my first year, I probably had freaking 100 teammates. They just kept coming and going.”

With the Sixers and Simmons at the center of this week’s rumors, more changes could be on the way for Embiid, who’s obviously safe from any potential trade.

On the floor, the Sixers went toe-to-toe with one of the NBA’s elite teams, the Phoenix Suns, but ultimately came up short in a 114-109 defeat. Embiid and Tobias Harris combined for 64 points and 19 rebounds, but Philly native and former Villanova Wildcat Mikal Bridges (23 points) and the Suns got the last laugh.

Next: The Sixers play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center (NBCSP).

On the Fly

Flyers fans have called for Danny Brière. Now, they’ve got him.

The team announced on Tuesday that Brière has been hired as an assistant to general manager Chuck Fletcher. The 44-year-old, who had spent the last five years with the Comcast Spectacor-owned Maine Mariners of the ECHL, previously played six seasons for the Flyers (2007-13).

Brière, who amassed 124 goals and 283 points in 364 games with the Flyers, is best remembered for leading the entire playoffs with 30 points on the Flyers’ road to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

The Flyers could sure use a player of Brière’s ilk, as they have almost a 0% chance of making the playoffs. Giana Han examines where the Flyers sit and what is at stake over the final 37 games.

Next: After more than a week off, the Flyers are back in action Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m., NBCSP).

Extra Innings

Kyle Schwarber checks a lot of boxes for the Phillies, who will be in the market for another bat in the middle of their order. But those selling points also figure to make him a popular target in free agency, especially if the National League adopts the DH. The Inquirer continues its search for power bats series, which kicked off earlier this week with a look at Kris Bryant.

Worth a look

  • Toughness and tragedy: Penn State guard Sam Sessoms is Philly tough. That toughness has played an integral role in his success as a basketball player and also has helped him this season play through tragedy. Sam’s brother, Sidney, was killed last year by gun violence in Port Richmond. “I’m still trying to play for my brother, but it’s just too hard to put all that pressure on yourself,” said Sessoms.

  • Wildcats find a way: Recovering from sprained ankles, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore both played Tuesday night against St. John’s in New York. Gillespie had 10 rebounds and Moore scored 16 points as the 15th-ranked Wildcats won, 75-69.

  • Record breaker: Grad transfer thrower Sade Meeks has competed in three meets since transferring to Villanova from Jacksonville University. She has broken a record in each of them. Bridget Hyland profiles Villanova’s new track and field sensation and details how her early experience in acting has helped prepare her to perform as an athlete.

  • Different track(s): In 2011, Princeton native Kelly Curtis won the women’s collegiate heptathlon at the Penn Relays. On Thursday, she begins her quest to win a gold medal in skeleton at the Beijing Olympics. Manning Snyder has the story of Curtis’ path from the synthetic rubber of a traditional running track to the icy track of skeleton.

  • La Salle loses again: La Salle lost for the fifth time in the last seven games. Despite having the game’s top two scorers, the Explorers were blown out, 75-57, by St. Louis. Clifton Moore scored 23 points in a losing effort as the Explorers fell to 7-14 (2-9 A-10).

What you said

We asked: Should Tyrese Maxey be untouchable in any Ben Simmons trade?

You answered: “Both Tyrese Maxey and [Matisse] Thybulle should be untouchable — they are the future along with JoJo [Embiid]. — R. Furman

Wednesday Wager

Confident in the Sixers this season? Not as confident as one bettor.

That’s because on Tuesday a bettor wagered $19,000 at BetMGM on the Sixers to win the NBA championship. At +2000 odds, a winning wager would net $380,000. That person will be hoping the Sixers make a move for James Harden at the deadline!

We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from: David Murphy, Keith Pompey, Scott Lauber, Giana Han, Mike Jensen, Gus Elvin, Manning Snyder, Jon Marks, Rob Rose and Bridget Hyland.