Marc J. Spears on Ben Simmons: His circle keeps telling…

Marc J. Spears on Ben Simmons: His circle keeps telling me that he’s in a good mental place. That’s big. I’m not asking them. They’re telling me that unsolicited.

More on Ben Simmons Trade

Jon Krawczynski: I believe the Timberwolves are the team in the league right now that most wants Ben Simmons. I think that the Ben Simmons market across the league is pretty dry.
Jon Krawczynski: The real key here is that the information has now become public. And that is a very big sign to me that the Ben Simmons camp is going to start to really ratchet the temperature up on the Philadelphia 76ers, who so far have not gotten really close to anything in terms of the Ben Simmons trade. I think there's some frustration in that camp, about the lack of progress. I think they are trying to make it as clear as possible that coming back to the 76ers is not a an outcome that they are going to go for.
The Committee liked the Cavaliers' recent acquisition of Lauri Markkanen, even after the Cavs drafted Evan Mobley and re-signed Jarrett Allen, because they added Markkanen on a team-friendly contract that will be easy to trade if needed. This is no small thing when league sources say that Cleveland continues to keep its hat in the ring to try to pry Ben Simmons from the Sixers. Making a deal just to add a theoretical trade asset didn't exactly work with the acquisition of Andre Drummond, since Cleveland was unable to find a subsequent deal to move Drummond on, but its options on Markkanen — keep and develop him or move him later — figure to be more favorable. If only that were the case when it comes to the Cavaliers' Kevin Love conundrum … or the Darius Garland/Collin Sexton backcourt overload.
According to NBA insider Keith Pompey, this is one of the main reasons behind Simmons’ desire to jump ship. Not only does he want to leave, but it sounds like the former NBA Rookie of the Year wants Doc Rivers and the Sixers to pay for their views: “There are teams that are interested in Ben Simmons, they just don’t want to pay the steep price,” Pompey said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic Monday morning, via Justin Grasso of FanNation. “Ben Simmons knows that, so they are saying why should we help the 76ers out when they feel like when Doc Rivers said what he said, nobody apologized, and Doc was never reprimanded.”
Simmons has informed the 76ers that he wants to be traded, and will not attend training camp with the team if he isn’t moved. That could be significant, and might show how seriously the Sixers will take the situation. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on “The Hoop Collective” podcast that the Sixers can fine Simmons for skipping camp, and the sum would be significant. “Bobby Marks set me straight on this. (Simmons) can be fined $227,000 a day for not showing up,” Windhorst said. “Typically, NBA teams, especially in training camp, work six days a week. That means that if they wanted to fine him for every week, he could be fined about $1.3 million dollars. That is what they could do. The Simmons side, basically, has told me ‘we are prepared for that ramification.'”
Bodner: The Wolves and the Raptors are the two teams I have heard linked to Simmons most consistently over the summer, with a lot of speculation about the Warriors thrown in as well. The Kings represent why the Sixers would really prefer to delay this decision as long as possible, as it’s really easy to be optimistic about your team’s chances in September. Then again, I don’t think Fox and Simmons are natural fits anyway.
I think Cleveland is potentially a wildcard. But I think what’s perhaps more interesting than what new teams could enter into the bidding war for Simmons is what teams Morey will be able to rope in to make it a three (or four) team deal. That could end up being the key to all teams walking away feeling comfortable with the trade.
However Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard said on the Odd Couple Podcast that reliable sources had informed him that Simmons was not fussy about his next destination. “I talked to some people today that are close to this situation and one thing that I’m told by someone who would know, remember there was a report that Simmons wants to go to a team in California, right one of the winners, the Lakers, the Clippers, the Warriors.” “I was told today in no uncertain terms, he will go anywhere but Philadelphia. He just wants out of Philadelphia. You’re hearing the teams Minnesota, Toronto right? Going after him hard. I’m told he’d go there.” “If he’s willing to go to Minnesota, even Toronto, I mean they’ve won a championship, but it ain’t America.” “I’m told he’s willing to go to any team other than Philadelphia.”
NBA Central: Dame liked this 👀 (h/t @AhnFireDigital)
The Warriors front office isn’t currently split on whether or not to accept a Ben Simmons trade offer from Philadelphia. There isn’t — and has never been — a realistic one on the table for them to discuss. Talks can’t be considered dead because they’ve never even really been alive, multiple sources confirm.
The desperation isn’t there on both sides. Unhappy stars unsettle situations. The Sixers have an anvil over their head less than a month before camp. The Warriors don’t. They have 14 players under guaranteed contract control and those are the 14 that everyone internally is under the assumption will be there to open the season. That includes Curry, now locked into a long-term extension. His signature (and proceeding interview) was his vote of approval on the team’s planned path. The Warriors aren’t currently initiating any trade calls offering their young players for veterans, Simmons or otherwise. They have zero intention to do so in the coming weeks, sources confirm.
Anthony Slater: The Warriors front office hasn’t talked to the Sixers about Simmons since Morey’s ambitious offer before the draft and they don’t plan on initiating discussions in the coming weeks. They intend to start the season with their current roster and Steph Curry, via a long-term extension, has given his stamp of acceptance for the fusing of eras.
Sam Amick: As I wrote here, though, the fact that the Kings are unwilling to include De’Aaron Fox and/or Tyrese Haliburton in a possible Simmons deal is, for now at least, a deal-breaker. Heck, they’re even trying to hold onto Harrison Barnes, from what I’m told.
Simmons has reportedly demanded a trade from the Sixers and it could simply be a matter of time before he gets traded to another team unless Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey doesn’t think any team can give him what he wants for Simmons. According to BetMGM, the Warriors are +300 to be Simmons’ next team. “Ben Simmons has confirmed he wants to leave Philadelphia and many teams are in the mix to acquire the All-Star. Simmons has stated he would like to go to California, and with some trade assets available, the Warriors look to be in the driver’s seat," BetMGM's Darren Darby said.
According to a source with knowledge of their situation, the Kings spoke to the Sixers weeks ago and made it clear that both De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton would not be included in a possible Simmons deal. That stance, the source said, has not and will not change and the internal expectation is that the core of their roster will remain the same heading into training camp later this month.
High on the list of teams likely to acquire Simmons are, according to several oddsmakers, the Warriors (including NBC Sports Powered PointsBet, which has them third-highest at +250). They’re willing to listen, because they realize listening always has value, even if no deal is consummated. Listening, after all, does not necessarily equate to interest. According to league sources, any interest the Warriors might have in Simmons is conditional. In short, they’re not that interested as long as Draymond Green is on the roster.
The sense is that teams are going to try to wait this out for a little while and see if the heat prompts Morey to come down on his asking price. The Wolves can’t, or won’t, meet it right now. Truth be told, it will be very hard for them to make it happen at all. Recruiting third teams to help is very complicated and often fruitless, there are luxury tax implications to consider and a host of other things that can get in the way. Maybe another team with a better package emerges out of nowhere when things get really hot. Maybe Morey really does stick to his guns, starts the season with Simmons, tries to convince him to play and hopes he can restore some of the value he lost last playoffs.
Patrick Beverley: Facts
Danny Green appeared on Howard Beck’s Crossover podcast on Sports Illustrated and he spoke about Simmons as if he was already out. “We don’t know what we’re going to get back for him. We may get a point guard, we may get wings, that may change a lot…I don’t know who we’re going to get.”
BECK: How closely are you paying attention to [the Simmons talks]? I assume this is at least some subject of conversation as you and your teammates are texting each other in the summer. "GREEN: Yes. I've texted here and there. Mostly we just wish each other happy birthday, enjoy the offseason, or if we're in the same city we chop it up some. But I was just working out with one of our coaches here, and we were just talking about what's going on with what he's heard, what we've heard. We don't hear from the higher-ups, we don't get that intel, or they don't consult with us before they make moves. We're hearing who we might get, who we might lose, and we're all very interested and paying very close attention to it.
The 76ers were widely believed to be holding out for a chance to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers, but Lillard recently said he isn’t leaving Portland, “not right now at least.” As for Sacramento, sources have suggested the 76ers would only be willing to consider an offer that includes De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings are unlikely to part with either player, but they can offer Buddy Hield, a prolific 3-point shooter who would space the floor for Joel Embiid; Marvin Bagley III, a former No. 2 pick who has yet to reach his potential; and other assets, including multiple first-round draft picks.
Thrown under the bus, Simmons had little chance of recovering and returning to the Sixers – unless, of course, the Sixers wanted to trade Embiid and keep Simmons. They had to pick one or the other, and Embiid was the clear choice for the Sixers. But the issue was deeper than one play, one game, one series. The Simmons-Embiid rift had been escalating, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Veteran Danny Green joined Howard Beck on “The Crossover” podcast and he explained how much he and the Sixers would miss Simmons: "It’s tough to say, man because we don’t know what we’re gonna get back for him. We may get a point guard. We may get wings. That might change a lot. I might be playing with a different type of point guard. I might be playing with different type of wings. I might be coming off the bench. I don’t know who we’re going to get and also, defensively, I probably become the primary defender. Not that it’s an issue or a problem for me, but we have one less wing defender with him. Now it’s me and Matisse (Thybulle), not saying the other guys don’t play defense, but you talk about our main defenders, Ben was a big part of that and a part of our defense.
NBA Central: Danny Green talks about potentially playing without Ben Simmons 😯 (🎥 @Howard Beck )
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
One league executive said the Sixers are making “totally outlandish offers.”
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.
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.
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade
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May 25, 2022 | 1:32 pm EDT Update
The agents mentioned are those from Klutch Sports, which has star clients like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Trae Young and, yes, LaVine’s Bulls teammate, Lonzo Ball. The latest round of chatter around LaVine likely has more to do with Klutch angling to make sure that LaVine keeps his old as the top Bulls star going forward. That’s likely to be the case without this wave of late-May drama, given that DeRozan turns 33 in August and is not likely to repeat the kind of season he just put forth, with a career-high in scoring (27.9 points) and the second-best shooting (50.4%) of his career. “It is still Zach’s team,” the NBA source said. “Klutch just wants to make sure everyone knows it.”