Though it doesn’t look good right now, the Sixers continue to insist that their preferred outcome at this point is to bring Simmons back and try to work through this. Embiid has publicly stumped for Simmons and privately insisted they can turn this around if they simply get him back in the gym and around the team. Rivers does not believe this will be an issue in the locker room, using an example from his own playing days to show these situations can be rectified.
The Simmons-Rivers relationship has been one of many issues in question as this has played out over the summer. Sources with knowledge of the situation have noted throughout the offseason that mending that relationship would be one of the most important steps toward potentially making this work, even if temporarily, and there has been little-to-no progress on that front. Simmons' buy-in has been described as "low" or "non-existent" by team sources in recent weeks, with the head coach and player rarely speaking since the season ended in late June.
Tom Moore: #NBA source: The #Sixers' goal isn't to increase Ben Simmons' trade value by him reporting but for Simmons to come back and play this season. Also, Simmons and agent Rich Paul initially asked for a trade in Chicago "right after" the 2020-21 season ended.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers wants to change Ben Simmons' mind. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the star guard has told the team that he will not report to training camp next week and does not plan to play for the franchise again. "Well, I hope we can change that thought," Rivers said on ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill, and Max on Wednesday morning. "That's part of our job."
Marc Farzetta: "We hear it all, but we're not going to give up on that...I just love how [Ben Simmons] plays. I love a lot of the things that he does for the team...but we have to go through all this to get him back" -Sixers Coach Doc Rivers on @FirstTake
While Rivers wants to change the narrative, he hasn't had much of a chance this offseason. He was asked how much he's talked to Simmons. "Not much, but we've had some," he said. "And I get his feelings. I understand where he's at right now, but we're going to keep trying to work on it to get him in the right place."
Paul, who also manages Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Trae Young, has built a $2.7 billion empire and knows how to get what he wants. “I talked to Rich Paul,” former NBA player Jay Williams told ‘Bart & Hahn’. “He was the one that told me: ‘We want out and we’ll go to what ever degree we have to’”.
Kyle Neubeck: One detail I left out from this was the suggestion from a team source that firing Rich Paul (however unlikely) would be one way for Ben to try to rectify what some view as a self-created problem. "He could just say, 'my agent talked me into this stupid fucking strategy.'"
Even when Philadelphia's brain trust met with Simmons or Simmons' representation, there was difficulty in figuring out exactly what Simmons wanted that Philadelphia didn't or couldn't provide here. There are legitimate reasons Simmons might want to move on, but sources say his camp has largely communicated that Simmons wants out without spotlighting issues to fix or things being done wrong.
They could likely make such a deal tomorrow if they chose. But looking at all the options on the table, the Sixers prefer Simmons being on the floor and playing for them compared to dealing him for offers that cut into their title odds, sources say. The premise of dealing Simmons for assets and developing talent rests on making another more important move down the road, which people with the team have scoffed at recently.
"There are a few deals you could say, we do this, and we'll gamble that sometime later, we'll take draft picks and turn it back into having [a title] chance," a team source told PhillyVoice. "But why do that?...there's no reason to go get draft picks right now because you could just do it all at once. Why take the risk that you do that and you can't flip back out of it? It makes no sense with Joel in his prime."
It is clear Simmons wants out though and when you consider that alongside his poor form in the playoffs, the Sixers have little leverage to work with and the offers have reflected that. “The Sixers are yet to find a deal they are willing to do,” Wojnarowski said. “They want Ben Simmons in camp, they want to see his trade value improve and then find a deal out in the marketplace but right now they are going to do it with him on the sidelines because his intention now is to not play another game for that organisation.
“They’ve asked for a steep return. It is hard to trade a star player when you are a contender because you are trying to get back the pieces that keep you a contender now. “The offers on the marketplace just did not meet the threshold that Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers want in Philly. Now there is a standoff.”
The Sixers are expecting at least some sort of absence to open the preseason, sources say, though most are convinced he will eventually show up, citing a lack of precedent for extended holdouts in the NBA. There has been some public debate over whether the Sixers would fine him for such a move in the midst of trying to work through all this, though it seems pretty black-and-white on Philly's end.
It almost goes without saying that bridge-building would need to be done between Simmons and Doc Rivers. The head coach tried to walk back the despair he showed after Game 7 during exit interviews the very next day, and his defenses of Simmons far outnumber his one high-profile shoulder shrug. Even still, getting the two to connect during the offseason has been close to impossible, sources say. Ultimately, this is in Simmons' hands. Rivers would tell you himself that he regrets letting his guard down during Simmons' lowest moment as a professional. Some missteps are just harder to come back from than others.
In an interview with The Chronicle on Tuesday, Warriors owner Joe Lacob said in reference to a “Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Philadelphia” while being careful not to get fined for tampering: “I think we are always looking at everything to see if we can improve our team. We would always look.”
During the 2021 playoffs, Simmons fell past Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain as the worst postseason free-throw shooter ever and did not attempt a fourth-quarter field goal in five of the seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “In some ways, it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know,” Lacob said. “He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”
On Tuesday, an hour or so after ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated that Simmons doesn't ever want to play for the Sixers again and is still planning on holding out, Simmons took to his Instagram story to troll Sixers fans and NBA fans alike. Amid the swirling "Simmons for John Wall?" speculation (which, no), Simmons posted an eight-second clip of himself in a gym with Wall to his account, featuring Wall yelling for Simmons to leave him alone:
Complicating matters with that caveat of right now, of course, is the reality that the Sixers also do not appear close to a trade they are willing to go through with that gives Simmons his desired fresh start. More than two months after posting one of my Tuesday newsletter extravaganzas on Substack for the first time on July 13 — also a breakdown, on that occasion, of the latest on the Simmons front — Philadelphia looks no closer to a trade to bring an end to this stalemate.
Weeks of Philadelphia’s Simmons talks with various teams haven't brought the Sixers to the brink of a deal, largely because Morey is the one faced with trying to get commensurate value for his All-Star and still asking for so much in return in his determination to recoup a trade package that, as one source put it, keeps Philadelphia in title contention. History, however, says that Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations shouldn’t count on getting a glittering package back when a deal finally materializes — his own history.
I reported Monday that the Sixers don't expect Simmons to show and are resigned to try to keep working behind the scenes to try to convince him to reconsider that stance. After I published that, another source close to the situation told me: “Right now, I don’t see a scenario where Ben is back in Philly." The source meant it with permanence. As in: Simmons’ career with the Sixers, to the source, is over.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford's last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall's in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
The Sixers have not lowered the bar on what they’re seeking in a Simmons trade — yet. Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Antonio and Sacramento — all of them, league sources say, have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks. They're also all bubble playoff teams at best based in markets not known for attracting free agents and surely love the idea of acquiring Simmons when the 25-year-old is locked into three guaranteed seasons on his contract after this one.
Yet league sources maintain, as noted above, that the Sixers are actively trying to convince Simmons to rejoin the team even though he has made it clear to management that he doesn't want to spend another second as a Sixer. I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford's last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall's in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Simmons is clearly aware of sanctions available to organization to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary. But so far, Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team. Sixers have yet to find a a trade they’re willing to make for him.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Simmons hasn’t spoken to team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials.
Marc Stein: The expectation remains, one week out from 76ers media day, that Ben Simmons will choose not to report to the team's training camp, league sources say. But the Sixers, sources say, remain intent on trying to convince Simmons to report. More NBA from me at marcstein.substack.com
Brian Windhorst: On opening night I think he's gonna be in Los Angeles filming jump shot videos. He may be on the roster but I don't think he's gonna be there. (...) I don't think Ben Simmons plays another game in a Sixers uniform.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason's hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers' red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel's vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly -- at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Tom Moore: #NBA source: The #Sixers 'are expecting (Ben Simmons) to play (in 2021-22). The expectation is they will. It's bumpy right now (& the team expects it) to get better.' The #76ers don't plan on making a deal that would drop them back in standings & not getting viable offers. pic.twitter.com/QUMmzkKbKF
Just like ESPN’s trade machine, fanspo.com gives users the chance to play armchair GM by providing a tool that checks to see if a fake trade is possible based on things like the incoming and outgoing salaries of all the players involved. And according to data provided to The F5, no player has been involved in more fake trades on fanspo.com this offseason than Simmons. The chart below shows the 30 players who have been part of the most successful1 fake trades since July 1. Some of the players on the chart have already switched teams (either via trade of free agency) this offseason. Others may be on the move soon having been the subject of countless trade rumors.
Jon Krawczynski: Everyone that you talked to in the league believes that Simmons will eventually be traded, that the Sixers cannot afford to hold on to him and that Simmons is being very real in his threats not to show up.
Darren Wolfson: My understanding is Gersson (Rosas) communicated with Daryl (Morey), maybe some others in the Philadelphia front office... 'OK, KAT off the table. Anthony Edwards off the table, everybody else on the table.' But then like in the same breath, my understanding is D'Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons... They have a relationship. They played together in high school, that Gersson would love to have D'Angelo combined with Ben here.
The Athletic’s Timberwolves beat reporter John Krawczynski, however, recently reported that the team is hesitant to give up any of their core pieces in order to acquire him. They want a premium for (Simmons),” Krawczynski said of the Sixers on the “Athletic NBA Show” podcast on Friday. “Someone that can help them right away. But the Timberwolves don’t want to trade Anthony Edwards or Karl-Anthony towns. Those are those are deal-breakers. And they really would rather not trade D’Angelo Russell.”
Brian Windhorst: I think there's four or five who (are really interested in Ben Simmons). I just don't think there's anybody who's got what Daryl wants today. I know that Ben has tried to create this deadline of the start of camp. And trust me, nobody is better at creating artificial deadlines than Daryl Morey, he's an expert at it.
Do you know where Ben would like to go? Or is it a matter of, 'Just get me the bleep out of Philadelphia? I'll literally go anywhere.' Brian Windhorst: Well, I've been told a couple of places, but I'm loath to say it because I've seen other people say other things. And I think maybe it changes by the day, and I say, and all of a sudden that becomes gospel. But I think the answer to that question is away from Philadelphia is where he wants to go.
Jon Krawczynski: (The Sixers) want a premium for (Ben Simmons), someone that can help them right away. But the Timberwolves don't want to trade Anthony Edwards or Karl-Anthony towns. Those are those are deal-breakers. And they really would rather not trade D'Angelo Russell
After the transaction season ended in mid-August, owner Joshua Harris and 76ers management flew to Los Angeles to meet with Simmons and agent Rich Paul. The Sixers intended to tell Simmons they couldn't find a deal for him and hoped to put aside differences and enter the season on the same page, sources said.
Ky Carlin: Ben Simmons believes it’s not his job to fix his trade value #Sixers pic.twitter.com/x487WuiLUA
Jon Krawczynski on Ben Simmons situation: Given the developments and given how things are playing out, I think the Timberwolves are in stronger position today than they were even a couple of weeks ago in this whole situation.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Warriors, according to sources, are divided on the subject. Some see great potential in having two skilled players thriving in the ball-movement principles, especially in transition. Simmons also happens to be six years younger than Green.
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.
In conversations with teams in Las Vegas, I came away with the impression that the Timberwolves were the team that was most active in talks to try to make a Simmons deal happen.
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.
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.
Danny Green to Howard Beck: "Obviously, Tobias (Harris) kicked it up a notch and he’s been amazing defensively for us, but Ben was DPOY for us this year. Everybody on our team, of course, we thought he, deservedly so, should have been Defensive Player of the Year. No disrespect to Rudy Gobert, he had a great year, always, even the last three years, but we thought Ben was able to guard 1 through 5 and set the tone for us and he’s gone. So that changes a lot for, not just offensive but defensively, as well for me. It depends on what we get back in return."
NBA Central: Danny Green talks about potentially playing without Ben Simmons 😯 (🎥 @Howard Beck ) pic.twitter.com/2a4zAf0cZs
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.
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.
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?!?
May 31, 2023 | 5:53 am EDT Update
“Adrian Griffin, new head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks… The fact that Giannis wanted him so much – you have to take his voice strongly into account.” @ShamsCharania on Giannis endorsing #Bucks to hire Adrian Griffin as their new head coach 🤝
Scott Perry, Knicks parting ways
Scott Perry arrived as the Knicks’ general manager in 2017, tasked with bringing stability to a franchise in turmoil. He achieved that, settling the waters and bridging the gap as a new front office took hold around him. But with his contract running out shortly, Newsday has learned that Perry is not returning. A source confirmed that Perry will move on when his contract expires this summer. The legacy will be stability and success in an organization that had rarely seen it for two decades.
Brown is entering the final campaign of the four-year, $106 million extension he signed in 2019. There has been a train of thought that Brown’s supermax eligibility could ultimately be what keeps him in a Celtics uniform because of the money he’d be passing up if he left. It’s roughly $100 million more than the standard maximum extension he could sign with the Celtics or another team, and $40 million more than the standard maximum contract Boston, could re-sign him to in 2024.
The Celtics will almost certainly be taxpayers in 2024-25 if Jaylen Brown signs his supermax extension. That means if they remain taxpayers in 2023-24 as well, then they will enter the repeater tax starting in 2025-26. That will significantly raise their tax rates and that is also the first season tax rates will rise sharply starting at the third tax level (roughly $11 million over the tax line). The exact payroll they had for 2022-23 would equate to a $64 million higher tax penalty in 2025-26.
It goes without saying that alarm bells on Brown’s future will ring if he doesn’t extend with the Celtics this summer. But it seems like a strong likelihood that Boston will have both Brown and Jayson Tatum under contract for a long time. Speaking of which, Tatum also became supermax eligible by earning All-NBA honors this season. His is projected at five years, $295 million, but he can’t sign it until the 2024 offseason.
Pincus recently appeared on 105.3 The Fan to discuss his reporting about the Mavs. When describing the “buzz” he’s heard about a possible “handshake deal” for the Mavs and Irving, Pincus made clear that it’s not based on something he’s heard directly from either the team or player’s representation. Rather, it’s something that people around the NBA have mentioned. “I was at the NBA combine and spoke to a lot of different people, and so, I wouldn’t want to put out, like these are — it’s not the Mavericks. It’s not, Kyrie or his people saying there’s a deal done,” Pincus said. “There’s just the general buzz around the NBA that when they made the [midseason trade] that they pretty much had an understanding that they would keep Kyrie Irving and pay him to stay.”
“I wouldn’t think in anything with Kyrie and I know that the Mavericks can’t actually negotiate numbers, but teams tend to work around the rules without breaking them. And maybe they break ’em in spirit, but they stay within the lines,” Pincus said. “So I wouldn’t think that the Mavs have done anything untoward. I’m just saying, there’s a reasonable likelihood that at least according to the people I speak to, that Kyrie will will be back.”
Draymond Green would have picked Caleb Martin over Jimmy Butler for East Finals MVP
“Jimmy actually finished with 28-6-7, had a much better game today than he’s had the past three and Jimmy is their guy. We know that. Never taking anything away from Jimmy. Congrats to him on the award.” Green made it clear that he had immense respect for Butler’s contributions to the Heat, acknowledging that none of their success would have been possible without the star player. However, he argued that Martin’s consistent performance across the board deserved recognition. “If I had a vote, I personally was voting for Caleb Martin for MVP,” Green stated. “I think he was extremely consistent across the board. I think he was really good across the board.”