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The standoff between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers is only going to grow more intense as the trade deadline approaches. The 76ers want to trade for James Harden. Brooklyn, for the first time all season, appears open to making a trade, but they'd want a substantial amount back along with Ben Simmons in order to complete a deal. The 76ers, on the other hand, would surely prefer to trade Simmons with as few supplementary assets as possible.

It's unique among front office games of chicken in that both sides have legitimate claims to leverage. Brooklyn can argue that Philadelphia won't want to waste an MVP-caliber year from Joel Embiid. Philadelphia can fire back and say that Brooklyn is risking losing Harden for nothing as a free agent in the offseason. If a trade is going to happen before Thursday's deadline, one of these teams is going to have to cave. It could legitimately be either one.

But according to multiple reports, the 76ers have set some parameters on what they're willing to do. CBS Sports' Michael Kaskey-Blomain reported that the 76ers view standout guard Tyrese Maxey as untouchable in trade talks. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reiterated that stance and added that it was far likelier that Philadelphia sends Brooklyn an older player like veteran swingman Danny Green in a Harden deal than any of their non-Simmons youngsters. 

Green would be quite valuable as a role player for the Nets. He would be their best defensive guard aside from Bruce Brown, but unlike Brown, he's actually a strong 3-point shooter. He's exactly the sort of player the Nets would like to add in a non-Harden trade. If Harden is going out, though, their priority would likely be asset accumulation. They gave away Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and full control over their first-round picks through 2027 to land Harden. If they give him away, they'd likely want young players and draft picks to help replace some of what they lost.

The issue, aside from the long-term upside those players possess, is that they play critical roles on Philadelphia's roster right now. If they dealt Maxey, Harden would be forced to carry an unrealistic ball-handling burden. If they deal Thybulle along with Simmons, they'd be without any perimeter stoppers. Even Seth Curry, who is far older at 31, provides essential spacing. The 76ers ideally want to add Harden to their existing roster using Simmons. They don't want to break up what they already have.

Brooklyn will probably need them to if it is going to make this trade. Not only do the Nets want to maximize their return in a deal, but they are aware that winning the Eastern Conference likely means beating Philadelphia at some point in the postseason. That makes the Nets and 76ers particularly unusual trade partners. They're not only trying to strengthen themselves, but they want to weaken each other. That is going to make this one of the most complicated trade negotiations in NBA history, and these teams have only three days left to figure it out.