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Doc Rivers willing to take COVID-19 vaccine; Rockets reportedly want Ben Simmons, 3 first-rounders for James Harden | Sixers notes

Sixers second-year guard Matisse Thybulle also said an across-the-board level of focus is the biggest difference from last season.

The Rockets reportedly want a haul that would include Ben Simmons if they were to trade James Harden to the Sixers.
The Rockets reportedly want a haul that would include Ben Simmons if they were to trade James Harden to the Sixers.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Doc Rivers has a high comfort level in regards to taking the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available to him.

The 76ers coach said after Monday’s practice that he trusts the vaccine and isn’t a conspiracist.

“You know, obviously, you want it to be done right,” Rivers said. “You are hoping that all the things that should have been done have been done by the FDA and everybody else.

“But yeah, I have no problem taking it.”

He is aware that a lot of people have their concerns. Rivers understands the suspicion, especially being a Black man.

“You know, the Tuskegee Institute,” he said. “We don’t forget stuff like that. So I get that as well.”

The Tuskegee syphilis study began in 1932 and was a secret experiment conducted on hundreds of Black men by the United States government to study the deadly venereal disease. The men were misled and unable to give proper consent for their participation in the study, and were never given proper medical treatment.

The incident looms large in the collective memory of the Black community.

“But I just think it’s something that a lot of the doctors are taking, a lot of people are taking,” Rivers said of the coronavirus vaccine. “It’s something that’ll probably take when it comes out.”

» READ MORE: Sixers’ Doc Rivers: NBA ‘in uncharted waters’ playing amid COVID-19 concerns, including Florida’s Keyontae Johnson

Harden update

The Sixers have been adamant about keeping their All-Star tandem of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons intact.

Despite that, the team keeps popping up as a prime trade destination for disgruntled Houston Rockets star James Harden. The 2018 league MVP informed the Rockets before training camp that he was open to being dealt to the Sixers.

Sources have said the Rockets would want a young cornerstone player and draft picks if they were to trade Harden. On Monday, former Bleacher Report reporter Yaron Weitzman reported the Rockets are asking for Simmons and three first-round picks.

On paper, Simmons doesn’t appear to be the perfect fit for Houston now that it has point guard John Wall. Like Wall, Simmons is ball dominant.

“You are not hearing them from us,” Rivers said Dec. 8 about addressing his players amid the trade rumors. “You know, as long as you don’t hear them from us, you should be very comfortable.

“We like our team, man. I tell you, that team I just watched out there is really special. And so, those rumors, none are coming from us.”

Change in atmosphere

Matisse Thybulle was asked Monday what’s the biggest difference in the Sixers’ atmosphere from last season.

The second-year guard thinks it’s the across-the-board level of focus.

“Whether it is attention to detail, just being locked in, I mean respect across the board,” he said. “Everybody is dialed in. You see guys who are already playing at a high level even playing at a higher level. “

Thybulle added that the new guys are coming in, feeding off the energy. That’s bringing the Sixers to another level, he said.