The belief around the league is the Sixers have been holding out for six-time All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard to request a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. But Lillard said, “I’m not leaving [Portland] — not right now at least” on Wednesday during an Instagram Live stream.
Ben Simmons let it be known that he wants out. In a meeting with the 76ers last week in Los Angeles, Simmons told team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and coach Doc Rivers that he no longer wants to remain a Sixer, according to multiple sources.
Sources said the three-time All-Star also does not intend to report to training camp. A team spokesman declined to comment.
The Sixers are having a tough time finding a team to meet their lofty trade demands. The organization does not want to trade Simmons for less than what it believes is fair market value. The four told Simmons they wanted him to report to the start of training camp on Sept. 28 and be a part of the team.
The source said, however, the Sixers’ inability to get fair market value isn’t Simmons’ fault. Another source said there’s no shortage of teams still interested, but the problem is Morey is demanding a king’s ransom.
Simmons is fully aware the Sixers can fine him for holding out and failing to show up to training camp. But a source said money will not play a role in the decision-making for Simmons, who has four years and $147 million remaining on his deal.
Plus, fining Simmons could strain the Sixers’ relationship with his super agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Paul has a who’s who of clients — players the Sixers might be interested in pursuing down the road in free agency. When asked specifically whether he thought Simmons would come back at all, a source responded “no,” resolutely.
League sources believe the Sixers will have a tough time getting what they perceive as fair market value under the circumstances. “Think about three months ago when the Sixers are willing to give up Ben Simmons. You are like, ‘Let’s see what we have to do to get him,’” said a Western Conference executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Now, the difference is Ben Simmons says he refuses to play for the Sixers. He wants to go to three California teams. There’s so much bad blood between him and the team.”
The executive said teams are not willing to give in to the Sixers’ steep asking price knowing they have to move Simmons. “The kid said he’s not going back,” the executive said. “I’m not giving you what you’re demanding. They really messed this up.”
A source believes the devaluing of Simmons began with Rivers’ postgame comments following the Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals on June 20. That’s when the coach, who has been one of Simmons’ biggest supporters and defenders, was asked by The Inquirer’s David Murphy if the standout is still capable of being a point guard on a championship-caliber team. “I don’t know the answer to that right now,” Rivers responded on a night when Simmons finished with five points, 13 assists, eight rebounds and was sidelined the final 40 seconds of the 103-96 loss.
The day after wavering, Rivers did say that Simmons is salvageable. He said the Sixers would put together the right type of offseason workout plan to help correct Simmons’ shooting deficiencies. But a source said Simmons has not participated in a Sixers offseason workout plan. The source believes it will be tough for Simmons to have a working relationship with the team moving forward. At the same time, the team isn’t trying to let their multifaceted player go for little in return.
According to MyBookie, the Sacramento Kings are the favorites (+250) to sign Philadelphia 76ers‘ point guard Ben Simmons. Notwithstanding their current luxury tax space amount of $5,521,317, they are $25,465,197 over the cap. To add to that, the Minnesota Timberwolves have the second-best odds (+400) of trading for Simmons. While the Toronto Raptors‘ odds show +2000, tied for sixth with the Washington Wizards, they are in active trade negotiations with the 76ers.
So far, Simmons’ situation remains the same. While the 76ers have told teams they are comfortable bringing Simmons back for the 2021-22 season, rival executives believe it’s only a matter of when — not if — the All-Defensive team stalwart is moved. For now, all signs continue to point to Simmons’ career in Philadelphia coming to an end.
Philadelphia has its eyes set on Portland All-NBA guard Damian Lillard, sources say, but the Trail Blazers have fully focused on continuing to build around Lillard. As of now, Lillard is continuing to evaluate the Trail Blazers’ present and future and is slated to begin training camp with the organization. In some ways, the 76ers are stuck between deciding whether to make a move now with Simmons — or waiting until a star like Lillard shakes free.
Brian Windhorst: 'The teams that have talked to Philly, they are not right now in the mode for trading Ben Simmons. It doesn't mean that he's not available, but right now it does not appear that there are any active discussions for Ben Simmons. I think Ben is preparing to start the season with Philadelphia.'
And while team sources have reportedly denied that’s the case, when you consider all that conjecture, a meeting between Simmons’s agent and the team to discuss potential moves, and last week’s announcement of a max extension for Joel Embiid, it seems like the relationship is at its expiration date. So far this summer, Simmons has been linked to the Warriors, Wolves, Blazers, and Spurs in trade talks. And one scout I spoke to said they wouldn’t be surprised if Simmons considers not showing up to training camp if he hasn’t been traded.
There are other semi-intriguing fits, like Portland, Golden State, or Sacramento; the latter has the shooting Simmons needs around him and could dangle De’Aaron Fox as a trade piece. But a league source said Fox is content in Sacramento. And having a player who wants to stay may be too valuable for a small-market team like the Kings. Ultimately, the Simmons question comes down to a team’s belief in its culture and development—two things the Sixers are working to rehabilitate. If he stays in Philly, Daryl Morey and Co. must surely believe they can either fix the situation or boost Simmons’s trade value. If he goes somewhere else, well, we’ll soon either be lauding the front office for the way they revived Simmons’s career, or talking about yet another team that Morey fleeced.
After 25 seasons in charge, 22 trips to the playoffs and those five titles, Popovich will naturally leave his post how and whenever he chooses. He has earned that right. Chances are we won’t hear from him on any topic until training camp begins, but it’s fair to say — with less than 40 days until camps open leaguewide — that there is far more chatter circulating about the Spurs’ attempts to barge their way into the Ben Simmons trade sweepstakes than Pop’s future.
Darren Wolfson: Beverley has spoken with all the team's leaders and he's pumped to be here, as I said yesterday. As for any Simmons trade, they'd love to have him, have tried. What makes you think Bev would put those talks over the top?!?
Adrian Wojnarowski: "Philadelphia has continued to try to see if they can find a deal for Simmons before the start of camp. They have not had success, you know, really getting any traction for the high asking price they're asking for for Ben Simmons. Minnesota is one team that's been persistent with Philadelphia, but they've needed to have, really, third and even fourth teams in those kinds of deals to get back to Philly what it would want.
The Wolves have continued to have discussions with the Sixers on Simmons, sources said, but the lack of win-now assets they could provide the Sixers in their pursuit of a championship has been a hindrance. A third team would almost assuredly have to be brought in to get more immediate impact assets to the Sixers, and that is a complicated endeavor.
Adrian Wojnarowski: "I think for the Sixers, if they're going to trade Ben Simmons, they've got to get back players right now who continue on that Joel Embiid timeline of having an MVP-level player in his prime, that you're trying to win championships with, and that's a hard package to get back for Ben Simmons right now. There's a very distinct possibility he's going to have to come back to training camp with them next season.
Each of Minnesota, Golden State, Sacramento and San Antonio has been consistently linked as a top Simmons destination, yet the overwhelming sense among league insiders continues to be that Simmons, for now, is expected to remain a Sixer once training camp opens on September 28—barring a change of temperature with Damian Lillard in Portland. That appears to be the ever-important undercurrent to what has been routinely described as a "James Harden-like" package Philadelphia is seeking for any Simmons return.
Simmons, on the other hand, appears more than interested in playing for a new team. He expects to be traded and has not personally been in close contact with Morey, Embiid or head coach Doc Rivers this offseason, sources told Bleacher Report. Simmons' representation has further canvassed rival front offices, gauging their interest in creating a new home for the 25-year-old All-Star and this year's runner-up in Defensive Player of the Year.
Sacramento has no real avenue to land Simmons without sacrificing De'Aaron Fox. The Kings' star guard has drawn varying evaluations during B/R conversations around the league, but his value certainly appears higher than Simmons' at the moment.
Toronto, though, was never going to entertain a framework of acquiring Simmons for OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and the No. 4 pick, which Philadelphia pitched the weekend before July's NBA draft. And rumors that a three-team swap between Philadelphia, Golden State and Portland was gaining legitimate traction were categorically denied by Warriors and Blazers personnel. Golden State brass are considered to be quite high on the team's recent lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
Minnesota officials remain motivated in landing Simmons. That would be nothing short of a home run fulfilling the Timberwolves' ongoing search for a starting forward, and Simmons could do so in a playmaking role similar to Draymond Green. But it would be challenging for Minnesota to send back enough talent for Philly to reroute in a hypothetical Lillard pursuit, while still adding Simmons to a rising young Minnesota core.
That leaves San Antonio as perhaps the most interesting potential trade partner. And there is a faction of the Spurs front office rumored to strongly covet Simmons.
Personnel who spent time with Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics also suggested to B/R that longtime Spurs shooting czar Chip Engelland would relish the opportunity to rework Simmons' mechanics, just as the noted assistant coach ironed out Kawhi Leonard's jump shot and others before him.
San Antonio was open to discussing Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV before the draft, sources said, and the Spurs added more enticing future draft capital in their sign-and-trade that delivered DeMar DeRozan to Chicago. Could the starting points of that package be enough to truly intrigue Philly? Portland's eventual interest, as always, would factor heavily into any further discussions, too.
Whether Simmons is amenable to that of course remains to be seen, but Philadelphia appears prepared for that outcome. Said one veteran front office voice, "Daryl is not afraid to go into training camp with a potentially combustible situation."
Pompey gave an interesting look at the ordeal, including information sourced from people close to the situation: "I think he's gonna get moved. "[...] "I felt like, talking to people I spoke to and sources, they all thought it was going to happen in the preseason. Happen maybe right before training camp, in training camp, what have you. Maybe right before the final rosters. But the belief is that he is still going to get traded. I think that's right."
Given his elite playmaking and defensive abilities, ESPN's Zach Lowe made the case as to why a Simmons-Green frontcourt pairing potentially could work. "I think the Warriors internally are divided on the potential fit of Simmons with Draymond Green," Lowe said Tuesday on the "Lowe Post" podcast. "Do you agree?" "I've been told they are," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith responded. "They are divided."
Multiple sources tell The Sacramento Bee the Kings have shown interest in both Ben Simmons and Pascal Siakam, the two most prominent names linked to Sacramento since the trade and free agency frenzy began. Some remain skeptical the Kings can pull off that kind of deal, but McNair wants to make an impact move as pressure to win begins to build within the organization 11 months after he was hired, sources said.
Outside the organization, there is a perception that Sacramento’s new front office is already “feeling the heat” from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.
A source with knowledge of the situation in Toronto said the Raptors are receiving numerous calls about Siakam and team president Masai Ujiri is “listening like a good negotiator.” The Kings, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers are said to be particularly “enamored” with Siakam. A trade is possible, but not likely, the source said, adding Siakam has no desire to be moved despite the possibility of a rebuilding situation in Toronto.
Two other names (Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal) might be slightly more alluring, but the one significant player nearly everyone expects to be on the move this summer is Simmons, as we’ve already documented ad infinitum since The Pass. The fit with Joel Embiid seems questionable at best and both Simmons and his team would probably be better off with a new arrangement.
The Sixers could also bring him back and try again if they can’t get a Lillard or a Beal at the moment, but it also appears that maybe Simmons doesn’t want to come back. Per Ramona Shelburne on ESPN’s The Jump: The Sixers are open to bringing him back. In a lot of ways, I think they would prefer that. I think they would prefer to say we don’t want totrade this guy who can win the Defensive Player of the Year, who is a young superstar in the making. Just come back and let’s let’s work on this, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a bridge there that is being walked across by both sides like that. I don’t know if Ben Simmons has that interest right now because things were said afterwards. After the season, Doc Rivers said some things, Joel Embiid said some things. I know there’s been trying to smoothing out of that relationship, but it doesn’t seem like Ben is necessarily interested in that right now.
The Jump on ESPN: "The Sixers are open to bringing Ben Simmons back and I think they prefer that" -- Ramona Shelburne
This, technically, isn’t about free agency, but it all fits in this time of year. Multiple league sources maintain that Philly’s asking price for Ben Simmons on the eve of free agency remains sky-high.
At minimum, the Sixers are seeking control of at least four future first-round picks via direct trade or pick swaps, along with an All-Star-level player in most (but not all) scenarios. Philly has engaged in discussions with teams around the league since mid-July.
Don’t expect a quick decision on Ben Simmons. As has been reported, Philadelphia has been asking for a lot for Simmons. “Forget a Harden haul,” an exec in contact with Philadelphia told SI. “They want what Boston got for KG and Pierce.” The Sixers, though, seem to be in no rush, with Simmons under contract for the next four seasons and the market for Simmons, after last spring’s playoff debacle, relatively cool.
Here's what Wojnarowski reported on ESPN's morning show 'Get Up': "Philadelphia is still asking for a lot. Teams are not willing to be strip-mined to trade for Ben Simmons. They're going to continue to try and find a way, to see if there's a deal here as free agency starts. You kind of get another cycle of deal-making here. But he's four years left on his deal, they're not going to just give him away in Philly. Whatever they get back for him, they've got to believe it continues to make them a championship contender. But they'd like to get a deal done before training camp."
The Jump on ESPN: Zach Lowe on Ben Simmons trade: "I don't think they have anything close right now or last night. As of now, I expect this to linger into the summer which would get awkward. They don't have traction anywhere"
Zach Lowe: As @wojespn just said on TV, it does not appear in canvassing the league there will be any Ben Simmons trade tonight -- or that the Sixers are close to one. We'll see how long this lingers.
The Golden State Warriors basically assumed the 76ers’ offer as a joke. The Sixers asked for Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, the Nos. 7 and 14 picks in tonight’s NBA draft along with two future first-rounders in exchange for Ben Simmons, according to multiple sources. The Warriors quickly turned down the offer.
A trade for Ben Simmons remains highly unlikely for the Wolves. League sources say Daryl Morey continues to ask for a king’s ransom for Simmons. So far, he has not found any takers. Will the asking price drop?
If it does, Rosas will try to get back in with some kind of multi-team trade that nets Morey the win-now return that he covets while getting one of the best defensive players in the game to offensive-minded Minnesota. He has not completely given up on the possibility of adding Simmons, sources say, which falls in line with his previous playing of the market.
Jason Dumas: Source: The Sixers hope to trade Ben Simmons tonight. The asking price remains the same. The relationship seems to be over. It’s not a matter of if anymore, but when.
One question outside of a likely Mobley pick is what else they might have in store for themselves. Rumors of Collin Sexton trades are swirling. Exploring better-balanced books in the future is happening. And even kicking around a potential Ben Simmons trade for Cleveland has been discussed, as it has with many teams. League sources said brief conversations between Cleveland and Philadelphia were explored, but an asking price of every young player the Cavs value plus multiple first-round picks in the future wasn’t something they’d consider. For now, roll with Mobley and see where else value may exist.
Paul Garcia: On ESPN2, Woj says the Sixers are asking for a Harden-esque type trade package for Ben Simmons. He says moving Simmons isn't urgent, but Sixers will be active going into draft tomorrow.
Sam Amick: As a follow-up to today’s column, a source with knowledge of Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons landscape is very much downplaying the Miami possibility. Also, as a sidenote, Simmons or his camp has not made any specific requests regarding possible landing spots.
According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Conner on "The Mismatch" podcast, the San Antonio Spurs reportedly turned down an offer for Sixers' Ben Simmons. And apparently, it was a steep price.
O'Conner says the 76ers wanted a haul from the Spurs that included the Spurs sending Philadelphia one of their young core players and much more. "There's so much stuff floating out there right now about the Sixers having outrageous demands like wanting four first-round draft picks, and three pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs they say now. All these deals you hear about are outrageous. Nobody will do it for Ben Simmons."
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Sixers continue to canvass the league for Ben Simmons trades — armed with a steep asking price. Simmons and his agent, Klutch CEO Rich Paul, are in step with a move elsewhere. Draft night is always an ideal vehicle for a deal, but talks could continue into summer.
Yet while Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal both appear to be in their respective holding patterns when it comes to possibly requesting a trade, it’s looking increasingly likely that Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons will be on the move. One source close to the situation handicapped Miami, Toronto and Washington as the most likely landing spots. The Wizards scenario, of course, would only take place if Beal wound up deciding that it was time for a new chapter outside of the nation’s capital. The moving parts, as you can see, are sometimes part of the same puzzle.
The Philadelphia 76ers, who have been exploring trade possibilities with Simmons in recent weeks, are also expected to be in the Lowry sweepstakes via a sign-and-trade with the Raptors, who have expressed a willingness to do so if they can't keep their franchise guard, sources say.
The Sixers and Heat were unable to secure trades for him this past season. At that time, the Raptors’ asking price was too steep. Lowry also wanted some indication that his potential destination would be willing to provide a two-year extension of at least $25 million per year, sources said. He made $30 million in the final year of his Raptors deal. Apparently, his salary demands haven’t changed. A league source confirmed that Lowry’s free-agency asking price is $90 million over three seasons.
Not only is he a six-time All-Star, Lowry knows how to run a team. He’s a winner, a leader, and possesses a toughness that would benefit the Sixers. Adding him to the mix with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris would put the Sixers in great position to advance to the NBA Finals. “If there’s a sign-and-trade [with the Sixers] that can be done that can get him there, and he gets $25 to $30 million, he will consider it,” a source said.
In his appearance, Jake sheds a great deal of light on Beal’s situation in Washington and how a Ben Simmons-led offer from Philadelphia could appeal to the Wizards’ brass. At the end of the interview, as Jake alluded to some reporting on Simmons that he would publish on Sunday afternoon, he shared an exclusive and rather damning nugget about the icy current relationship between the Sixers and their embattled star. (bold emphasize is mine) "I’m not gonna write this in the story, but I’ll tell this to you guys and you guys can do what you want with it. They haven’t been able to really even get in touch with Ben since the season ended.
"Like, there was an intent to have a workout plan or whatever — like in any offseason. That’s always kind of been the case, that the Sixers haven’t been able to align with a development plan [for Ben] — that’s kind of what Yaron Weitzman wrote at Fox Sports in that big story. It just doesn’t sound like there’s ever been movement to come together on the same page to do that, and it hasn’t really worked this summer either. I think that’s not something that’s an encouraging sign for him being in Philadelphia in the future."
And league executives contacted by B/R continue to mention the possibility of the Sixers holding onto Simmons, should a desirable offer still fail to arise during the draft, in the hopes of Damian Lillard ultimately seeking to leave Portland. Talks between the Raptors and Sixers are considered to be the most advanced of any early conversations Philadelphia has had for the 25-year-old All-Star.
Multiple sources confirmed Sunday that the Toronto Raptors have emerged as a team with “significant” interest in Simmons. One source close to talks said discussions have not been substantial as of yet. Multiple sources including those close to talks said a proposed framework including Raptors guards Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the 4th overall pick in Thursday’s draft for Simmons was rejected by Toronto.
One other significant shift on the Simmons front: There was talk that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey would be willing to start the season with Simmons to rehab his value before a midseason deal. That idea now seems untenable to executives based on discussions with Philadelphia.
PhillyVoice reached out to multiple team sources on Monday morning in wake of the report, and received pretty firm denials at every stop. "We talked to Ben on his birthday a couple of days ago, we've been in touch with him throughout the summer," one source said. "We're going to send some training personnel out to see him this summer, too...we have good dialogue with Ben, his team, and his family."
The 76ers’ quest to trade Ben Simmons hasn’t hit a crescendo yet … but it is stirring. It’s inevitable, according to league sources. It’s just not clear when it will happen, where he will go, and what the Sixers will receive in return. “Philadelphia has options,” a league source told The Inquirer. “They’re just not finite.”
The source added that more teams are interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star than have been reported because of this summer’s weak free-agency class. The lack of players available makes it more likely Simmons will inevitably be moved.
While there’s still a chance the Sixers get something done sooner, several league sources believe it could happen in the preseason.
Sources believe potential trade partners will have more of a sense of urgency to acquire Simmons closer to the start of the season. They’ll be more willing to part ways with valued assets.
But all that activity doesn't seem likely to include the Ben Simmons blockbuster. Rival front offices believe Daryl Morey was hoping that would materialize by now.
Perhaps if Bradley Beal were to request a trade away from the Washington Wizards—as two sources close to the All-Star guard told Bleacher Report he was considering—Philadelphia could emerge as a serious front-runner with a Simmons offer. In the event Beal does not become available, the Sixers have yet to make serious traction on any other Simmons deal, sources said.
Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento and Toronto all showed interest in acquiring the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, sources said. Multiple executives from those teams, when contacted by B/R, mentioned their excitement at incorporating Simmons as a play-making forward—not at the point guard position he's played in Philadelphia.
Time is on Philadelphia's side. The Sixers are not required to trade Simmons, although the overwhelming expectation around the league is that he will be moved before the 2021-22 season tips. That could occur in August; team executives are anxiously awaiting Damian Lillard's return from the Tokyo Olympics, and a potential trade request that could occur if the All-Star guard doesn't endorse Portland's offseason roster adjustments. "I think Daryl is just waiting for the Dame situation to explode," said one team official.
Adam Aaronson: Woj says Sixers are engaged in trade talks [for Ben Simmons], taking on offers and making offers. Says the Sixers are looking for best possible player in return. Points out that Simmons has four years left on his deal, which means (A) the Sixers don’t have to do this now + (B) Ben has no leverage
Adam Aaronson: Woj says one player makes most sense for the Warriors in a trade: Bradley Beal. “Beal is not yet — and may not be — available.” “I don’t sense that Golden State is interested in the Ben Simmons talks.”
Simmons, the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn't be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.
Could the 76ers trade the No. 28 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft at the Barclays Center? A league source confirmed the team has had discussions about parting with the pick if they can get value in return. The Sixers are open to trading it for future assets or a veteran player. Trade discussions could heat up early next week, though it’s not a certainty that they’ll trade the pick. The Sixers also have a second-round pick (50th).
After multiple reports suggested Lillard could ask out of Portland, he clarified last week that such rumblings were inaccurate. Simmons, currently the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn’t be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.
Plus, right now, the Sixers are gauging teams’ interest in acquiring three-time All-Star Ben Simmons via a trade. At the moment, they’re in no rush to part ways with Simmons for what they perceive are unsubstantial offers. The Sixers are only prepared to make a move if they receive an All-Star player in return.
Internally, team sources view a lot of the reported offers floated around the league as transparent attempts to lower Simmons' trade value below where it actually is. The Sixers are uninterested in packages returning multiple role players and picks in exchange for Simmons, according to a source familiar with the situation. As one specific example, a source told PhillyVoice the Sixers would not even entertain a discussion with the Sacramento Kings save for the inclusion of guard De'Aaron Fox in a potential deal, which they view simply as a starting point for talks.
Philadelphia's position on trading No. 28 is not contingent or related to the big ongoing discussion around Ben Simmons, whose future remains up in the air for the time being. The Sixers have continued to put a high sticker price on Simmons and are under no pressure or rush to deal him if the right opportunity doesn't present itself, according to sources familiar with the situation.
My understanding is that talks for Simmons to this point are just talks with teams expressing interest leading up to the draft. Certainly, there’s a high amount of interest in a guy that’s been an All-Star for several seasons and an All-Defensive player. Philly is in a win-now mode. They’re not trying to settle on anything or taking back future assets. You’ve got Joel Embiid in the prime of his career and an MVP candidate. The time for them is now, and the rest of their supporting cast is fitting around Embiid to shoot. Simmons, I’ve heard, has been in the gym working. He does recognize there’s a part of his game he needs to address with his shooting.
Marc Stein of the New York Times fanned those flames Tuesday when he reported the Kings were one of at least five teams showing interest in Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star who could transform Sacramento’s porous defense. The potential for a deal is there, but the 76ers are reportedly seeking an All-Star caliber player in return. De’Aaron Fox would probably fit that description, but sources have maintained the Kings are highly unlikely to trade their dynamic 23-year-old point guard.
Apparently, not everybody is as down on Simmons as Philadelphia fans. We spoke to an NBA scout who has a deep knowledge of the Sixers, and he remains in Simmons’ corner. The scout, who requested anonymity, spoke of Simmons in glowing terms. “I would be damned to give up on him and not get superior talent back,” the scout said.
A key for everything is if Simmons can bounce back from the postseason, where he shot just 15-for-45 from the foul line in the seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series loss to the Atlanta Hawks. “The guy is an All-Star-caliber player,” the scout said of Simmons. “He will never be the greatest shooter, but he does a whole lot for a team and I would not give up on him yet.”
Simmons has to brace for the very real possibility that he winds up with a team he doesn't choose. The 76ers have insisted they will not be rushed or pressured into trading Simmons no matter how many outsiders declare his partnership with Joel Embiid irreparable. Debate about Simmons' trade value and how much it has cratered in the wake of his miserable postseason has nonetheless bubbled all over the league since the buzzer sounded on Philadelphia's Game 7 home loss to Atlanta.
Just scan through the teams that have been linked to a Simmons trade already: Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota and Sacramento are known suitors. Toronto is also said to have expressed interest. More will emerge.
The length of Simmons’ contract, if not the dollars, only adds to his appeal to teams that do not typically attract free agents. He has four seasons left on his contract at nearly $150 million — and the team control that comes with that status, in most cases, is bound to outweigh any trepidation teams might feel about the pressure Simmons' agent Rich Paul can apply to dissuade them from pursuing him.
Yet even if Morey, deep down, wishes he had a do-over on his January or March dealings, he has shown little inclination to rush into shedding Simmons, which is undoubtedly a nod to one of the most complex situations he has ever faced. All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland’s CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer.
Yet it's worth noting that inevitable rumbles of Lakers interest would not merely emanate from Simmons’ status as a Paul client like LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Word is that the Lakers, on top of their well-chronicled need for more shooting, covet one more difference-making playmaker who would allow James and Davis to spend more time at power forward and center.
The Lakers, remember, face such severe financial restrictions that re-signing Dennis Schröder might be the splashiest move they can make this offseason. If they prove willing to trade Kyle Kuzma or even Talen Horton-Tucker to push those limits, that's still not going to get them into Simmons territory. To be clear: I don't see Lakerland as a good landing spot for Simmons even if they had the means to make it happen. Although Simmons and the Sixers both badly need a fresh start because of all the swirling angst from this season's unhappy ending and years of frustration building up to it, asking Simmons try to rebuild his game and self-confidence in the league's most withering spotlight seems particularly unwise.
January 20, 2022 | 7:53 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: Forward Paul Millsap and the Brooklyn Nets have agreed to find the four-time All-Star a new team where he can have a greater contribution, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on James Wiseman: “This has just not been an easy one to figure out. We’re still hopeful he’ll be cleared for contact soon, but there hasn’t been an opportunity for that to happen this week.”