Internally, team sources view a lot of the reported offers floated around the league as transparent attempts to lower Simmons’ trade value below where it actually is. The Sixers are uninterested in packages returning multiple role players and picks in exchange for Simmons, according to a source familiar with the situation. As one specific example, a source told PhillyVoice the Sixers would not even entertain a discussion with the Sacramento Kings save for the inclusion of guard De’Aaron Fox in a potential deal, which they view simply as a starting point for talks.
More on Ben Simmons Trade
Philadelphia's position on trading No. 28 is not contingent or related to the big ongoing discussion around Ben Simmons, whose future remains up in the air for the time being. The Sixers have continued to put a high sticker price on Simmons and are under no pressure or rush to deal him if the right opportunity doesn't present itself, according to sources familiar with the situation.
My understanding is that talks for Simmons to this point are just talks with teams expressing interest leading up to the draft. Certainly, there’s a high amount of interest in a guy that’s been an All-Star for several seasons and an All-Defensive player. Philly is in a win-now mode. They’re not trying to settle on anything or taking back future assets. You’ve got Joel Embiid in the prime of his career and an MVP candidate. The time for them is now, and the rest of their supporting cast is fitting around Embiid to shoot. Simmons, I’ve heard, has been in the gym working. He does recognize there’s a part of his game he needs to address with his shooting.
Marc Stein of the New York Times fanned those flames Tuesday when he reported the Kings were one of at least five teams showing interest in Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star who could transform Sacramento’s porous defense. The potential for a deal is there, but the 76ers are reportedly seeking an All-Star caliber player in return. De’Aaron Fox would probably fit that description, but sources have maintained the Kings are highly unlikely to trade their dynamic 23-year-old point guard.
Apparently, not everybody is as down on Simmons as Philadelphia fans. We spoke to an NBA scout who has a deep knowledge of the Sixers, and he remains in Simmons’ corner. The scout, who requested anonymity, spoke of Simmons in glowing terms. “I would be damned to give up on him and not get superior talent back,” the scout said.
A key for everything is if Simmons can bounce back from the postseason, where he shot just 15-for-45 from the foul line in the seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series loss to the Atlanta Hawks. “The guy is an All-Star-caliber player,” the scout said of Simmons. “He will never be the greatest shooter, but he does a whole lot for a team and I would not give up on him yet.”
Simmons has to brace for the very real possibility that he winds up with a team he doesn't choose. The 76ers have insisted they will not be rushed or pressured into trading Simmons no matter how many outsiders declare his partnership with Joel Embiid irreparable. Debate about Simmons' trade value and how much it has cratered in the wake of his miserable postseason has nonetheless bubbled all over the league since the buzzer sounded on Philadelphia's Game 7 home loss to Atlanta.
Just scan through the teams that have been linked to a Simmons trade already: Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota and Sacramento are known suitors. Toronto is also said to have expressed interest. More will emerge.
The length of Simmons’ contract, if not the dollars, only adds to his appeal to teams that do not typically attract free agents. He has four seasons left on his contract at nearly $150 million — and the team control that comes with that status, in most cases, is bound to outweigh any trepidation teams might feel about the pressure Simmons' agent Rich Paul can apply to dissuade them from pursuing him.
Yet even if Morey, deep down, wishes he had a do-over on his January or March dealings, he has shown little inclination to rush into shedding Simmons, which is undoubtedly a nod to one of the most complex situations he has ever faced. All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland’s CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer.
Yet it's worth noting that inevitable rumbles of Lakers interest would not merely emanate from Simmons’ status as a Paul client like LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Word is that the Lakers, on top of their well-chronicled need for more shooting, covet one more difference-making playmaker who would allow James and Davis to spend more time at power forward and center.
The Lakers, remember, face such severe financial restrictions that re-signing Dennis Schröder might be the splashiest move they can make this offseason. If they prove willing to trade Kyle Kuzma or even Talen Horton-Tucker to push those limits, that's still not going to get them into Simmons territory. To be clear: I don't see Lakerland as a good landing spot for Simmons even if they had the means to make it happen. Although Simmons and the Sixers both badly need a fresh start because of all the swirling angst from this season's unhappy ending and years of frustration building up to it, asking Simmons try to rebuild his game and self-confidence in the league's most withering spotlight seems particularly unwise.
The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic. Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.
“(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,” one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said. Make no mistake: Interest across the league in Simmons remains robust. He’s turning just 25 this month, was an All-NBA team member in 2019-20, is a two-time All-Defensive first-team member and a Rookie of the Year award winner. Simmons is under contract through 2025, making him the type of superstar talent that rarely becomes available at an attainable price at this juncture of his career.
I asked one executive from an opposing team if the Cavs could get the Sixers’ Ben Simmons for a package of Love and Sexton. While the money matches, the response was “no chance; Philly can do better” despite Simmons’ deflated value. Teams around the league are well aware of Sexton’s contract situation, which will hurt his value in trade talks. One source believed the Cavs should’ve traded Sexton last summer, knowing this was coming and didn’t believe the Cavs will get a pick in the top half of the draft for him because of the contract. The Cavs may not find a match and still bring Sexton back for next season, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.
Jeff Skversky: Seth Curry does NOT want the #Sixers to Trade Ben Simmons Curry tells me he believes the Sixers can win an NBA title with Simmons "I love playing with Ben... he's still a great player, he obviously had a rough playoffs... I look forward to playing with him again" #BenSimmons
The Timberwolves pride themselves on getting involved in trade talks, and sources indicate that they will be in on Simmons in addition to a number of other players as they try to vault into playoff contention in the Western Conference.
In Minnesota, while the Wolves would certainly need Simmons to shoot more than zero times in the fourth quarter, they wouldn’t need him to be a No. 2 option on offense. Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell (the Timberwolves view Russell as a part of the core and want to keep it that way, sources said) give coach Chris Finch three accomplished offensive players to get buckets down the stretch.
Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey just started off his summer in style by dropping a ton of coins to purchase a very rare Ben Simmons Moment on NBA Top Shot. On Monday, Morey paid a whopping $4,444 to snag one of the most expensive collectibles under Simmons’ name in the NBA Top Shot Marketplace.
Chris Mannix: I hear from executives all the time that are loving this 'Ben Simmons trade value has cratered' conversation because they hope that Philadelphia believes that. I think his trade value is actually higher than than what's being publicly portrayed. But you're going to continue to hear a lot of the negativity around Ben Simmons. In other words, I think people value him pretty high across the league because I do think there's a belief that someone's going to figure the shooting thing out.
Every NBA person I talked to said Sixers GM Daryl Morey wants someone such as Damian Lillard in a Simmons deal. The Love/Sexton/draft pick package would have little appeal to him.
Simmons is still young. He’ll play the 2021-22 season at age of 25. Why can’t he improve his shooting? He doesn’t have to great from the line – just not awful. 5. One executive told me Cavs should even be willing to part with the No. 3 pick this season if that closed the deal for Simmons. Maybe they can also secure a first-round pick from the Sixers by expanding the deal.
Ben Simmons was ripped for passing up on a potential game-tying dunk late in Game 7 against the Hawks. But, Doc Rivers is having none of that talk ... giving nothing but high praise for the former #1 overall pick. "Ben's great," Rivers told us in Beverly Hills this week. "I want him back. He's terrific. He'll be great. I think he doesn't need a lot of fixing. He's gonna be great for us. He'll be great."
One of the most popular hypothetical trades among fans in Sacramento would send Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III to Philadelphia as part of a package for Ben Simmons. The Sacramento Bee submitted this proposal to a number of NBA agents and executives to get outside perspectives on what it would take to get a deal done.
One league source felt Simmons was a “pipe dream” for Sacramento, saying the 76ers would want Hield, Bagley and a minimum of three future first-round draft picks, including the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft. The source felt there was a better chance of an alternate deal involving 76ers forward Tobias Harris, suggesting Philadelphia might prefer to move Harris to clear salary cap space.
Another source questioned why either team would make that deal, specifically saying it doesn’t do enough to address Philadelphia’s need for leadership. The source suggested the Kings could make a serious play for Simmons if they make De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton available. Some believe the 76ers could make a move for Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard instead.
The Timberwolves are a team that’s in the mix for Ben Simmons. They’ve wanted an upgrade at the power forward position dating back to the trade deadline last year when they were in the mix for Aaron Gordon. Simmons and D’Angelo Russell played together at Montverde Academy, where they won back-to-back championships. If they ended up playing together, it would be an interesting pairing.
Even if he’s a playmaker, defender and superior athlete who can finish strong, scouts say it’s tough to have a player with a max contract on the roster if he’s unable to be on the court at closing time because of his shooting yips. The Knicks need more perimeter shooting — not less. “If the Knicks need a starting point guard, he’s not that guy,’’ one NBA scout said. “For him to be effective offensively, he needs the ball, and it conflicts with Randle. I’d say not a good fit.’’
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith caused a stir on Friday during an appearance on “First Take” where he called the notion of the Sixers not trying to trade Simmons a “damn lie.” The plugged-in reporter — Smith spent 16 years in the Philly media — cited sources saying that “calls have already been made” between the Sixers and Warriors. Simmons is very much on the trading block, but only for the right offer. Philadelphia is trying to claim that Philadelphia is not interested in moving Ben Simmons, let me tell y’all something, that’s a damn lie. That’s a damn lie. It’s just that they’re not interested in getting trash back for him. You make a solid bona fide offer, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to consider it. I believe the Golden State Warriors are going to make a push for Ben Simmons. I’m not saying it’s going to happen but calls have already been made. Things are percolating and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if something like that ended up going down. This notion that, ain’t no way that Philadelphia is moving him … hell yeah, they’ll move him if it’s the right offer. They won’t move him for garbage. They won’t move him for something that’s not a good offer but I’m telling you, I know a lot of people in Philly as you both know — let them get the right offer, Ben’s gone.
So, how legit is all this? Marcus Thompson of The Athletic is just about as plugged in on the Warriors as anyone out there, and he thinks there’s some fire causing this smoke. “I mean, Stephen A. is a renowned reporter with decades of experience,” Thompson told Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks on Friday. “I know, for sure he is tight with Joe Lacob. I’ve always thought this, if there’s a possibility to get Ben Simmons, especially for player price, you gotta at least kick the tires.
“I know there are people in the organization who were like, yeah, nah, we’ll pass. But that’s kind of how the Warriors roll. They like to kind of put all opinions on the table, debate it, weigh it out, argue it and then come to a consensus. But to me, it just wouldn’t make sense to not vet it, especially for a franchise that just rehabbed Andrew Wiggins, right?
The Ben Simmons rumor mill continues to churn, and the latest potential suitor is a name you should expect to hear a ton up until draft night in late July: the Golden State Warriors. That's the word from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who has been a source of a lot of Simmons gossip this past week. On Friday's edition of First Take, here's what Smith had to say about the meeting between Simmons' representation and Philly's front office, in addition to potential interest on the Warriors' end.
Stephen A. Smith: Here's the reality — as it was reported, Rich Paul talked to the Philadelphia 76ers, and obviously, he's Ben Simmons' agent, so you're going to want some involvement. Didn't ask for a trade, but certainly if Ben Simmons were to be traded, he wants some say in where he goes. That's what the reality is. And in the end, Philadelphia is trying to claim that Philadelphia is not interested in moving Ben Simmons.
Stephen A. Smith: Let me tell y'all something, that's a damn lie. That's a damn lie. It's just that they're not interested in getting trash back for him. You make a solid, bonafide offer, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to consider it. I believe the Golden State Warriors are going to make a push for Ben Simmons, so keep your ears tuned, stay tuned. It's possible Ben Simmons could end up in Golden State.
Dane Moore: I’ve heard it would take multiple first round picks for the Timberwolves to even get into the conversation when it comes to a Ben Simmons trade negotiation. pic.twitter.com/x8fbKPRo7q
Obviously, a move like that would have to come with Lillard’s blessing. Olshey has acknowledged that over the years, any move of note — a trade or free-agent signing — has been first run by Lillard to receive his endorsement. If Lillard thinks Simmons could work, then that’s the type of move that gives the Blazers a chance to make an instant jump because it addresses their biggest weakness: defense. I’ve also heard Boston could be interested in a player like McCollum, and I’ve always thought Marcus Smart and his defense would be a great pairing in Portland (obviously it would take more to make salaries match, but Smart would be a great start).
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."