Discussions on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons’ future with the franchise started in Chicago this week and included Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and Sixers management, sources told ESPN. Paul met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons’ Sixers career, sources said.
Paul engaged the Sixers on whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the sides are expected to continue talking ahead of the July 29 NBA draft and August free agency, sources said. The 76ers are committed to keeping Simmons as a central piece of their franchise, sources said.
After Simmons' season ended with a frustrating performance in a seven-game Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Sixers are focused on a summer of work on his shooting. Simmons and coach Doc Rivers met this week to discuss a plan for improvement, sources said.
Teams have been using the Chicago pre-draft camp to gauge the Sixers' interest in trade packages, sources said, although Philadelphia remains reluctant to break up the tandem of Joel Embiid and Simmons without maximizing a return and exhausting all possibilities to improve Simmons' offense, sources said.
NBA Central: "In talking to executives around the league, there's a lot of interest in Ben Simmons. If he was made available on the market today, there would be maybe up to a dozen teams would make offers." - Brian Windhorst (Via ESPN)
Tom Moore: #Sixers president of bball operations Daryl Morey: 'My understanding is Ben is all in with the organization. We would expect the players to be willing to do whatever's necessary.' That's how he answered if Simmons would work with shooting coaches the #76ers want this summer.
Tom Moore: #Sixers president of bball operations Daryl Morey, asked if Ben Simmons will be a 76er next season: 'We have a very strong group we believe in. None of us can say what the future brings. ... We like what Ben brings. We're going to do what's best to win a championship.'
Opinions differ on Philadelphia’s decision not to pursue Lowry harder, but there is a consensus around the league that Morey resisted because he’s angling for an even greater star. He’s thinking about stars like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal becoming available. CJ McCollum or Zach LaVine could also appeal to Philadelphia if they are put on the table.
After Philadelphia’s third exit in the semifinals in the past four seasons, HoopsHype polled four NBA executives for their thoughts on whether the 76ers should trade Simmons, a two-time All-Defensive player, and if he could bring back a star player that’s a better fit as part of a package with the hope of advancing past the semifinals for the first time since 2001. “I’d give him one more year and work hard on his free throw shooting and offensive game over the summer,” one NBA executive told HopsHype. “A pull-up mid-range jumper. His three-point shooting is a few years away if he ever gets it. You can’t rush things with him, he’s a mental midget right now with his shooting confidence. Not politically correct, but I couldn’t come up with anything else.”
“He’s not the perfect fit with Embiid,” the second NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Other players could complement Embiid better. Simmons is difficult to build a team around and is not good enough to be the central figure. I think the lack of free-throw shooting does hurt his value. I’d explore a trade. Guys like Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are two levels better than Simmons.”
For more context of how much Simmons’ free throw shooting hindered the 76ers, he missed more free throws in the playoffs (48) than the Phoenix Suns (29) and the Brooklyn Nets (28), as noted by StatMuse. “Ben’s lack of ability in the playoffs is a concern,” the third NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s good enough to get you to the playoffs and have a solid regular season, but the playoffs can be challenging for him as the game slows down and people’s weaknesses are exposed, which hurts the team. I’d explore a trade to see if I could get a couple of win-now players that fit the way they need to play with Embiid. A point guard or a wing that both can create shots for others and themselves.”
The fourth executive believes both of Rivers’ statements can be true and Simmons could find success with Philadelphia with a position change. “I’m not sure I’d trade him, but I’d make him a power forward and get a point guard,” the fourth NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Ben has totally disappeared. He needs to be more aggressive, especially in the playoffs. He’s content getting assists, rebounds, and defending, but to win in the playoffs they need more from him. He should be putting pressure on the opposing defense.”
Consider Portland. McCollum for Simmons as the main piece in a Blazers-Sixers deal is what executives around the league, just like fans, think is a reasonable trade that makes sense for both sides. Simmons could be like a supercharged Draymond Green to Damian Lillard’s Steph Curry. For years, the Warriors have shredded teams because Curry would often draw a trap and pass the ball to Draymond, who could get to the rim or make a clutch pass to a teammate. Simmons would thrive in a role like that since Lillard feels the same type of pressure in the pick-and-roll.
Michael Scotto: Ben Simmons was asked if he wants to stay with the 76ers. He replied, “Yeah, I love being in Philly. I love this organization. The fans are great people. I had a bad series. I expect that (boos). It’s Philly.” pic.twitter.com/c6DwoPMU9L
Lowe and Sixers analyst Spike Eskin discussed Simmons’ plummeting trade value on this week’s edition of The Lowe Post. His lack of shooting and floor spacing during the playoffs might be impacting his utility and the price he could draw on the NBA market. “I have news for Philly fans, the GMs of the other teams watch the playoffs very very closely. And there are definitely teams that I have talked to in the last 48 hours who were once in on Simmons, who say, at lease to me, it could be posturing, “eh, we’re a little less in than we used to be.”
The Jump: Reaction to being mentioned during Harden trade talks? "They told me I wasn't going anywhere but it's a business" - @Ben Simmons #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #HereTheyCome
However, Houston’s demand says something more about the value of Simmons around the league. And that could impact Philadelphia’s hopes of acquiring a player who can fill its void. Every team executive recognizes Simmons is one of the league’s best defenders and a dynamic open-floor playmaker. Perhaps in a different situation, he could fill a role resembling Giannis Antetokounmpo’s. But Simmons also has plenty of skeptics who see his inability to shoot as a fatal flaw.
Noah Levick: "As long as I'm here, I'm going to try to make Ben (Simmons) a better player. To me, that's the most important part of the relationship." -Doc Rivers Rivers reiterates that trade discussions are part of business of the NBA.
Brian Windhorst: In speaking to individuals with knowledge, Ben Simmons was prepared to be traded today. I don't know if I can say expected to be traded but was prepared to be traded, was ready to be traded. They never told him he was going to be traded.
Marc J. Spears: Hearing Ben Simmons was pretty ecstatic to not be traded from the Sixers to Houston for James Harden and believes his team is capable of bringing a title to Philadelphia. Doc Rivers is also a huge fan of Simmons and believes the best is yet to come with two-time NBA All-Star.
Joe Vardon: In the meantime, Daryl Morey tried to trade Ben Simmons off the Sixers. I’m told Ben is ‘fine’ after today’s events, but we will all have to monitor how this goes there with him and Joel and Daryl and Doc and the whole bit
Marc Stein: The Rockets are pursuing a trade package from the 76ers that would be headlined by Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey, league sources say
Marc Stein: Houston is increasingly determined to complete a James Harden trade as soon as today, league sources say, and has chased the promising Maxey in addition to Simmons Philly is known to covet Houston's PJ Tucker in addition to Harden while the Nets have also remained in pursuit
The Rockets have pursued a 76ers package centered on All-NBA star Ben Simmons, sources said. Boston and Toronto have also expressed interest at various points. Simmons, a two-time All-Star, has continued to grow his game on the defensive end of the floor. As far as star talent, the Rockets would be able to acquire a player in Simmons whose talent level may not be available elsewhere.
Teams already widely known to have interest in Harden, such as the Nets and Sixers, would unsurprisingly also have interest in Beal, league sources say. Most people around the league consider Brooklyn a fairly unlikely destination to land a star considering it lacks a high-value player or asset to put into a deal. Philadelphia, however, remains a threat to acquire anyone if Daryl Morey is willing to give up Ben Simmons. How many draft picks or young players he’d be willing to add with Simmons may be the bigger question.
Brian Windhorst on Daryl Morey: "He's not credible with what he says publicly about his trade intentions. So he comes out the other day and says 'we're not going to trade Ben Simmons', I do not find that credible in addition to the fact that very good reporters have reporterd that Ben Simmons is available, and I've heard myself that Ben Simmons is available."
Noah Levick: Doc Rivers says he gave Ben Simmons a call last night, "felt very good" about their conversation. He says trade rumors are unfortunate but part of the business.
While Wojnarowski doesn’t get into any specifics about what Philadelphia would want, it seems reasonable to assume that if they’re being asked to part with Simmons and draft picks, the 76ers would seek at least one more player from the Rockets — perhaps someone like P.J. Tucker. It doesn’t sound like Houston would be enthusiastic about that scenario though, per Wojnarowski, who says the Rockets will likely want Simmons “plus a bunch more assets” for just Harden. “You saw (Sixers president of basketball operations) Daryl Morey come out yesterday and say, ‘We’re not trading Ben Simmons,'” Wojnarowski said. “Well, I certainly don’t think they’re trading Ben Simmons just in a deal that looks like it’s straight up with some picks for James Harden. I think they’re going to want a lot more than James Harden. That might not be a deal that’s available to the Sixers.”
Shams Charania: The Philadelphia 76ers have made Ben Simmons available in some packages with the Houston Rockets for James Harden, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Conversations aren't fluid as of now.
While the Sixers have signaled a willingness to include All-Star guard Ben Simmons in trade packages for Harden, those talks have come nowhere close to a deal, sources said. The Nets are limited by the Rockets' interest in their personnel, and likely would need a third team to emerge in talks, sources said. So far, the Rockets steep asking price of young players and pick hasn't moved any of their discussions into an advanced stage.
Yet even with all that relevant history, this is what matters even more in the moment on this front: Sources say the Sixers want to see what new coach Doc Rivers can do with this new roster and have no urgency to pay anything more than a discount-aisle price for Harden anytime soon. Translation: Two-time All-Star and third-team All-NBA selection Ben Simmons remains off-limits, and these next few weeks will be spent evaluating this revamped group.
Salman Ali: James Harden updates from @Adrian Wojnarowski: -Houston isn't interested in the Nets package for Harden -If Brooklyn wants Harden, they'd have to pursue a three-way deal to net Houston a blue chip prospect -Philadelphia remains the natural trading partner for Houston because of Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/XuQP8WoSiX
Yaron Weitzman: Re: Sixers-Harden negotiations: I'm told the Rockets have asked the Sixers for 3 first round picks in addition to Ben Simmons. As many others have reported, the Sixers so far have been unwilling to include Simmons in any proposals.
The Miami Heat emerged as a potential trade partner with the Houston Rockets for James Harden and they may be able to make a better offer than the Brooklyn Nets due to the value of Tyler Herro. The Heat, however, would be unable to beat an offer from the Philadelphia 76ers if they ever decide to make Ben Simmons available. "Here's the bottom line," said Zach Lowe on his podcast. "I'm not sure any substantive talks have happened with any teams at this point. Let's just make that clear.
"I do think Tyler Herro as a single trade piece trumps anything the Nets can offer. Now, whether it trumps the Nets throwing every pick and every swap and doing the same thing they did for the Celtics except a better player in his prime, that's TBD. But Tyler Herro I think is a more valuable trade piece than Caris LeVert and anything else the Nets can offer. He's not more valuable than Ben Simmons. If and when that discussion happens, if that ever is a thing, I think the Heat are at a disadvantage in that sense."
Marc Stein: The Rockets insist (for now) they will not trade Harden. The Sixers insist (for now) they will not trade Ben Simmons. But sources say the familiarity between the front offices can ultimately defuse any lingering tension from Daryl Morey's departure from Houston to Philadelphia.
Ryen Russillo: Now when it comes to Harden in the trade part of this, here's what I feel good about saying and that is I think the Simmons deal for Harden is there waiting for Houston. I think Philadelphia would do Simmons for harden yesterday.
975TheFanatic: "We got to get rid of that noise. We love Ben and Joel. I think Sam Hinkie said it when he came out of his groundhog hole, that fans went through the process for those two players. Why would we try and ship them out? Doc and I are here for a reason." - @dmorey on moving on
The early signals emanating from Philadelphia suggest that Morey, the 76ers’ new president of basketball operations, wants to give Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons every last chance to click before trading one of them.
The early signals emanating from Philadelphia suggest that Morey, the 76ers’ new president of basketball operations, wants to give Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons every last chance to click before trading one of them. Houston, just to name one non-Nets option, could decide to wait to see if the Sixers’ stance changes. As wary as the Rockets must be about doing a deal of that magnitude with Morey, we’ve seen that front offices that know each other well often find it easier to collaborate on the biggest of trades.
Rarely have the No. 1 and 2 picks gone to teams in various win-now stages. Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have explored trading their picks for All-NBA-level stars, sources say, but no such deal appears (for now) likely to materialize. The Wizards have shown no interest in trading Beal for either pick, sources say. Ditto for Phoenix with Devin Booker and Philadelphia with Ben Simmons.
The Houston Rockets have zero interest in trading James Harden to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons, something ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on the most recent Brian Windhorst Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip Real GM). “I’ve already been told with a few expletives included by somebody with the Rockets: ‘No, Daryl, James Harden for Ben Simmons is not happening. Don’t ask.'”
Maybe Embiid and Simmons are destined for a breakup, but executives around the league say it would be shocking if it happened before next season—or during the season. The Rockets have experienced annual crash landings in the postseason, which Sixers fans can relate to. But you can’t simply blame the star players in either situation. The Sixers’ duo has had great success together, and in their own ways, play an efficient brand of basketball. The problem is the lack of an offensive initiator who can generate plays in the half-court to elevate their strengths.
What would you do with Philadelphia’s roster? Billy King: I would sit down with Doc and get his thoughts because he’s obviously seen them play. Then, you’ve got to look to tinker a little bit. I wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid to start because they’re two young talents. Now, if Doc says this guy I won’t be able to coach, then you have to explore it. You’ve got to look at Al Horford and if there’s a possibility of a trade there. They need more guys that can create off the dribble. You saw it in the playoffs when Ben wasn’t there. They don’t have a lot of guys that can create shots for other guys. I think they need more guys that can create shots or at least put the ball on the floor to take pressure off guys and get them easier shots.
Whom the Warriors would desire more between the stars is unknown, however. Last week, Hall of Famer Chris Mullin shared his thoughts on the choice, deciding that Embiid would be the perfect addition to the Warriors. NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh has a different opinion. "To me it is Ben Simmons," Haberstroh told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I think he is the perfect fit next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and people might say 'Hey, he kind of fills the same role as Draymond Green, why would you go for a guy that kind of duplicates what he does?' Well, Ben Simmons is much younger than Draymond Green," Haberstroh explained. "I think if you're going to try to acquire someone with the No. 2 pick, and package it with next year's pick they received from the Minnesota Timberwolves, I think you have to shoot for a player that is going to be someone that kind of transitions to that next phase of this Warriors team, after Stephen Curry, after Klay Thompson and Draymond Green."
The franchise's plan is that Brand will continue to oversee basketball operations, sources tell ESPN. Among the Sixers senior leadership, there's still a strong desire to keep the franchise's two young All-Stars -- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons -- together, sources said. The Sixers are determined to let a new coaching staff search for ways to maximize Embiid and Simmons together before even entering into a discussion on trade scenarios.
HoopsHype spoke with five executives, three coaches, three scouts, and two general managers on the condition of anonymity to get their takes on whether to move either Embiid or Simmons or keep the two All-Stars and restructure the roster elsewhere. Five of the talent evaluators said to keep both stars, another five said to trade Embiid, and the remaining three voted to trade Simmons.
“If I were a new coach, I’d like to coach them together for a year first before trading either, but if I had to pick, I’d trade Embiid,” one Western Conference coach told HoopsHype. “I think Simmons is more versatile. I’d just surround him with shooters and open the floor up like Milwaukee for Giannis. There can be more creativity with Simmons on the offensive end. I would try to trade Embiid to Miami and get some of their young, hungry shooters and guards like Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, etc. Ideally, I’d get Bam, but I doubt Miami would trade him."
“Embiid has big-time talent,” one longtime Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “If healthy, I would be reluctant to trade him. As talented as Simmons is, I’m skeptical about his shooting ever really improving. Horford is the ultimate shooting five. I think Harris’ best position is the four.”
Another executive echoed Simmons’ shooting woes as a major red flag, and the executive deviated from the notion that small ball and a bunch of shooters around Simmons can win at a high level. “For sure, I’d trade Ben Simmons because Embiid is a much better player, but you have to factor the injury factor for Embiid,” one longtime Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “He’s been fortunate to stay healthy, but how long can that last? Ben had knee and back injuries too. It’s hard to build a team around Simmons because of his deficiencies. When you have a big guy that’s dominant, all the best teams are big. Toronto, Milwaukee, the Lakers. If you have a player as good as Embiid, it’s no question. I think Simmons is overrated.”
“I would keep them both,” one Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “You’re not going to get equal value in a trade. The issue is the Horford and Harris contracts. If I had to trade one, it would be Simmons. I think Embiid is too dominant and able to control the game on both ends of the floor. The only reason I would trade him is if I’m afraid of his medical because they should know better than any other team.”
NBA Central: Woj says the chances of the Philadelphia Sixers breaking up Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are 'fairly remote' "I think you’ll see them continue to try to build around Simmons and Embiid." (Via ESPN)
You brought up Brett Brown. The 76ers are in the playoffs. When you hear people talk about whether Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can coexist together, what do you think of that? People wonder if they have to trade one of those guys to balance out the team? What do you think? Lloyd Pierce: I think it’s blasphemy. I think in this league, the challenge is, can you win? Are you a winner? If you’re that guy, it doesn’t matter who you play with. Winners get extra rebounds, run the floor, attack, defend, compete. To think you have a top-10 and a top-15 talent and you have two of them, and they can’t co-exist? I think they both impact winning. I’m not getting rid of one to go find another because you might not find another. It’s hard to find top-15 talent that impacts winning and is competitive. Both of those guys, I think, have shown that. They were a basket away from going to the Conference Finals last year. Chemistry is real. You have to have team chemistry. You have to develop it. You have to continue to work at it. Impacting winning and competing is real as well. I think both of those guys have that. I’m more concerned with how do you make it work, not let’s get rid of it and try another route. I don’t really agree with that approach for any team.
What was once a young, promising and exciting Philadelphia team has been grossly mismanaged by general manager Elton Brand and with an inevitable early playoff exit, it will likely lead to serious shakeup. According to league sources, it could even come down to between Simmons and Embiid. Both are proven superstars in today’s NBA and either of them would bring back a lion’s share of assets to allow Philadelphia to rebuild on the fly. That means that the rest of the NBA will circle this situation like vultures, waiting to swoop in and take advantage of an already inept Sixers front office.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is a combination that a lot of people in the NBA, including the Cavs, feel like is disastrous, and it can't work long term. And there is one member of the Cavs organization that believes eventually, maybe even as soon as this summer, if Philadelphia has an earlier than expected exit in the postseason again... there's one member of the Cavs organization that believes that Philadelphia is going to have to pick between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. That that pairing is going to have to be split up
The Cavs, of course, would have interest in Simmons. He possesses the talent and versatility to immediately alter the team’s future. The Sixers would want a haul for the 2016 No. 1 pick who is locked up through 2023-24 and will probably be named to the All-Defense First Team. But the Cavs believe they have enough to assemble an enticing package, especially with recent first-rounders littering the roster, a top six pick coming in October and a future first from the Milwaukee Bucks.
One executive who spoke with cleveland.com believes the Sixers will need to choose between Simmons and Joel Embiid -- if Philly has an earlier-than-expected playoff exit.
One of the interesting possibilities I’ve heard being kicked around is Russell for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. The 76ers could use a point guard who can score and run the show — and shoot. Some believe the pairing of Simmons and big man Joel Embiid isn’t viable in their pursuit of a championship. Simmons, as one source told me, is probably the best player the Warriors could possibly get for Russell, just considering the needs of the Warriors and their potential trade partners.
Despite being a lightning rod for criticism in Philadelphia, Simmons says he enjoys playing in front of a passionate fan base. "I love being in Philadelphia. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said. "I think this is the perfect place for me. I just handle [criticism] how it comes."
Simmons will have a poison pill restriction in his contract as part of signing a rookie extension. For trade purposes, his $8.1M salary for 2019-20 would be used as outgoing salary and $29.6M (the average over 6 years) would count as incoming for the acquiring team.
It’s tough to predict which players may be available in the long term, but as I wrote in January: Teams are monitoring Ben Simmons (Sixers), Devin Booker (Suns), and Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves). All three players are locked into contracts now, but if the Suns or Wolves keep losing or if Simmons takes a back seat in Philadelphia, situations can sour. The true prize, however, will hit the market in two years.
It’s early in that process. Leonard’s shot just fell through the net. But one Western Conference executive brought up a name that could be a Simmons trade target: LeBron James. “I think they very well might explore that,” said a rival executive of Philadelphia. James doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but he shares the same Klutch Sports agent with Ben Simmons in Rich Paul. James has two seasons left on his deal before he can become a free agent.
A source who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity said general manager Elton Brand made it known to ownership sometime before the trade deadline that the organization needed to consider trading Simmons because the youngster was simply not coachable, and was a regular-season player annually exposed in the playoffs. The idea was immediately shot down, and Brand was told that Simmons and Embiid were untouchable – even if Anthony Davis was the prize.
Philadelphia, which could put together a fairly competitive offer for Davis, currently has no plans to pursue a deal, sources said. Rich Paul of Klutch Sports represents Davis and Ben Simmons and a deal centered on swapping his clients is highly unlikely. The 6-foot-10 All-Star desires to play in a big market that’s committed to winning, sources said.
The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly sought Ben Simmons in a potential Jimmy Butler trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Thursday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor explained just how high the Timberwolves' asking price is for their disgruntled shooting guard: "One of the things that I've heard from a handful of sources is that—with the Sixers for example—the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, 'We need Ben Simmons in a deal.'"
Philadelphia's potential package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and the Heat's unprotected 2021 pick didn't move the needle. It's unclear if the Spurs had interest in Markelle Fultz; the two sides never discussed him seriously, and the Sixers would not have parted with him, sources say. The Spurs made it clear any deal with Philly would require Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid (likely Simmons), and the Sixers weren't going anywhere near that, league sources say.
July 30, 2021 | 9:44 pm EDT Update
While he won’t be back as one of their two-way players at this point, Devontae Cacok is still returning to the team he won a championship with in 2020, as he will be playing for the Lakers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, a league source told Silver Screen and Roll.
Alex Kennedy: Jānis Timma will play with the Orlando Magic in Summer League, a source told @basketbllnews. Memphis selected him 60th in the 2013 NBA Draft, then Orlando acquired his draft rights in 2015. The 29-year-old has an impressive overseas résumé, playing for Olympiacos, Khimki, etc.
After going undrafted Thursday night, former Kentucky Wildcat Olivier Sarr has signed a deal to play on the NBA Summer League roster with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Darren Wolfson: #Timberwolves had interest. But he shot the lights out in his Houston workout, looked at as better opportunity with the Rockets.
Moses Moody had two of the Warriors’ top players in attendance for one of his pre-draft workouts, and they reportedly were “impressed” with the eventual No. 14 overall pick. “I talked to Steph and Klay, they were both at one of my workouts, so talked to them a little bit afterwards,” Moody told reporters during his introductory press conference on Friday.