The Jump on ESPN: “The Sixers are open to bringing Ben Simmons back and I think they prefer that” — Ramona Shelburne
This, technically, isn’t about free agency, but it all fits in this time of year. Multiple league sources maintain that Philly’s asking price for Ben Simmons on the eve of free agency remains sky-high.
At minimum, the Sixers are seeking control of at least four future first-round picks via direct trade or pick swaps, along with an All-Star-level player in most (but not all) scenarios. Philly has engaged in discussions with teams around the league since mid-July.
Don’t expect a quick decision on Ben Simmons. As has been reported, Philadelphia has been asking for a lot for Simmons. “Forget a Harden haul,” an exec in contact with Philadelphia told SI. “They want what Boston got for KG and Pierce.” The Sixers, though, seem to be in no rush, with Simmons under contract for the next four seasons and the market for Simmons, after last spring’s playoff debacle, relatively cool.
Here's what Wojnarowski reported on ESPN's morning show 'Get Up': "Philadelphia is still asking for a lot. Teams are not willing to be strip-mined to trade for Ben Simmons. They're going to continue to try and find a way, to see if there's a deal here as free agency starts. You kind of get another cycle of deal-making here. But he's four years left on his deal, they're not going to just give him away in Philly. Whatever they get back for him, they've got to believe it continues to make them a championship contender. But they'd like to get a deal done before training camp."
The Jump on ESPN: Zach Lowe on Ben Simmons trade: "I don't think they have anything close right now or last night. As of now, I expect this to linger into the summer which would get awkward. They don't have traction anywhere"
Zach Lowe: As @wojespn just said on TV, it does not appear in canvassing the league there will be any Ben Simmons trade tonight -- or that the Sixers are close to one. We'll see how long this lingers.
The Golden State Warriors basically assumed the 76ers’ offer as a joke. The Sixers asked for Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, the Nos. 7 and 14 picks in tonight’s NBA draft along with two future first-rounders in exchange for Ben Simmons, according to multiple sources. The Warriors quickly turned down the offer.
A trade for Ben Simmons remains highly unlikely for the Wolves. League sources say Daryl Morey continues to ask for a king’s ransom for Simmons. So far, he has not found any takers. Will the asking price drop?
If it does, Rosas will try to get back in with some kind of multi-team trade that nets Morey the win-now return that he covets while getting one of the best defensive players in the game to offensive-minded Minnesota. He has not completely given up on the possibility of adding Simmons, sources say, which falls in line with his previous playing of the market.
Jason Dumas: Source: The Sixers hope to trade Ben Simmons tonight. The asking price remains the same. The relationship seems to be over. It’s not a matter of if anymore, but when.
One question outside of a likely Mobley pick is what else they might have in store for themselves. Rumors of Collin Sexton trades are swirling. Exploring better-balanced books in the future is happening. And even kicking around a potential Ben Simmons trade for Cleveland has been discussed, as it has with many teams. League sources said brief conversations between Cleveland and Philadelphia were explored, but an asking price of every young player the Cavs value plus multiple first-round picks in the future wasn’t something they’d consider. For now, roll with Mobley and see where else value may exist.
Paul Garcia: On ESPN2, Woj says the Sixers are asking for a Harden-esque type trade package for Ben Simmons. He says moving Simmons isn't urgent, but Sixers will be active going into draft tomorrow.
Sam Amick: As a follow-up to today’s column, a source with knowledge of Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons landscape is very much downplaying the Miami possibility. Also, as a sidenote, Simmons or his camp has not made any specific requests regarding possible landing spots.
According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Conner on "The Mismatch" podcast, the San Antonio Spurs reportedly turned down an offer for Sixers' Ben Simmons. And apparently, it was a steep price.
O'Conner says the 76ers wanted a haul from the Spurs that included the Spurs sending Philadelphia one of their young core players and much more. "There's so much stuff floating out there right now about the Sixers having outrageous demands like wanting four first-round draft picks, and three pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs they say now. All these deals you hear about are outrageous. Nobody will do it for Ben Simmons."
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Sixers continue to canvass the league for Ben Simmons trades — armed with a steep asking price. Simmons and his agent, Klutch CEO Rich Paul, are in step with a move elsewhere. Draft night is always an ideal vehicle for a deal, but talks could continue into summer.
Yet while Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal both appear to be in their respective holding patterns when it comes to possibly requesting a trade, it’s looking increasingly likely that Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons will be on the move. One source close to the situation handicapped Miami, Toronto and Washington as the most likely landing spots. The Wizards scenario, of course, would only take place if Beal wound up deciding that it was time for a new chapter outside of the nation’s capital. The moving parts, as you can see, are sometimes part of the same puzzle.
The Philadelphia 76ers, who have been exploring trade possibilities with Simmons in recent weeks, are also expected to be in the Lowry sweepstakes via a sign-and-trade with the Raptors, who have expressed a willingness to do so if they can't keep their franchise guard, sources say.
The Sixers and Heat were unable to secure trades for him this past season. At that time, the Raptors’ asking price was too steep. Lowry also wanted some indication that his potential destination would be willing to provide a two-year extension of at least $25 million per year, sources said. He made $30 million in the final year of his Raptors deal. Apparently, his salary demands haven’t changed. A league source confirmed that Lowry’s free-agency asking price is $90 million over three seasons.
Not only is he a six-time All-Star, Lowry knows how to run a team. He’s a winner, a leader, and possesses a toughness that would benefit the Sixers. Adding him to the mix with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris would put the Sixers in great position to advance to the NBA Finals. “If there’s a sign-and-trade [with the Sixers] that can be done that can get him there, and he gets $25 to $30 million, he will consider it,” a source said.
In his appearance, Jake sheds a great deal of light on Beal’s situation in Washington and how a Ben Simmons-led offer from Philadelphia could appeal to the Wizards’ brass. At the end of the interview, as Jake alluded to some reporting on Simmons that he would publish on Sunday afternoon, he shared an exclusive and rather damning nugget about the icy current relationship between the Sixers and their embattled star. (bold emphasize is mine) "I’m not gonna write this in the story, but I’ll tell this to you guys and you guys can do what you want with it. They haven’t been able to really even get in touch with Ben since the season ended.
"Like, there was an intent to have a workout plan or whatever — like in any offseason. That’s always kind of been the case, that the Sixers haven’t been able to align with a development plan [for Ben] — that’s kind of what Yaron Weitzman wrote at Fox Sports in that big story. It just doesn’t sound like there’s ever been movement to come together on the same page to do that, and it hasn’t really worked this summer either. I think that’s not something that’s an encouraging sign for him being in Philadelphia in the future."
And league executives contacted by B/R continue to mention the possibility of the Sixers holding onto Simmons, should a desirable offer still fail to arise during the draft, in the hopes of Damian Lillard ultimately seeking to leave Portland. Talks between the Raptors and Sixers are considered to be the most advanced of any early conversations Philadelphia has had for the 25-year-old All-Star.
Multiple sources confirmed Sunday that the Toronto Raptors have emerged as a team with “significant” interest in Simmons. One source close to talks said discussions have not been substantial as of yet. Multiple sources including those close to talks said a proposed framework including Raptors guards Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the 4th overall pick in Thursday’s draft for Simmons was rejected by Toronto.
One other significant shift on the Simmons front: There was talk that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey would be willing to start the season with Simmons to rehab his value before a midseason deal. That idea now seems untenable to executives based on discussions with Philadelphia.
PhillyVoice reached out to multiple team sources on Monday morning in wake of the report, and received pretty firm denials at every stop. "We talked to Ben on his birthday a couple of days ago, we've been in touch with him throughout the summer," one source said. "We're going to send some training personnel out to see him this summer, too...we have good dialogue with Ben, his team, and his family."
The 76ers’ quest to trade Ben Simmons hasn’t hit a crescendo yet … but it is stirring. It’s inevitable, according to league sources. It’s just not clear when it will happen, where he will go, and what the Sixers will receive in return. “Philadelphia has options,” a league source told The Inquirer. “They’re just not finite.”
The source added that more teams are interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star than have been reported because of this summer’s weak free-agency class. The lack of players available makes it more likely Simmons will inevitably be moved.
While there’s still a chance the Sixers get something done sooner, several league sources believe it could happen in the preseason.
Sources believe potential trade partners will have more of a sense of urgency to acquire Simmons closer to the start of the season. They’ll be more willing to part ways with valued assets.
But all that activity doesn't seem likely to include the Ben Simmons blockbuster. Rival front offices believe Daryl Morey was hoping that would materialize by now.
Perhaps if Bradley Beal were to request a trade away from the Washington Wizards—as two sources close to the All-Star guard told Bleacher Report he was considering—Philadelphia could emerge as a serious front-runner with a Simmons offer. In the event Beal does not become available, the Sixers have yet to make serious traction on any other Simmons deal, sources said.
Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento and Toronto all showed interest in acquiring the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, sources said. Multiple executives from those teams, when contacted by B/R, mentioned their excitement at incorporating Simmons as a play-making forward—not at the point guard position he's played in Philadelphia.
Time is on Philadelphia's side. The Sixers are not required to trade Simmons, although the overwhelming expectation around the league is that he will be moved before the 2021-22 season tips. That could occur in August; team executives are anxiously awaiting Damian Lillard's return from the Tokyo Olympics, and a potential trade request that could occur if the All-Star guard doesn't endorse Portland's offseason roster adjustments. "I think Daryl is just waiting for the Dame situation to explode," said one team official.
Adam Aaronson: Woj says Sixers are engaged in trade talks [for Ben Simmons], taking on offers and making offers. Says the Sixers are looking for best possible player in return. Points out that Simmons has four years left on his deal, which means (A) the Sixers don’t have to do this now + (B) Ben has no leverage
Adam Aaronson: Woj says one player makes most sense for the Warriors in a trade: Bradley Beal. “Beal is not yet — and may not be — available.” “I don’t sense that Golden State is interested in the Ben Simmons talks.”
Simmons, the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn't be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.
Could the 76ers trade the No. 28 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft at the Barclays Center? A league source confirmed the team has had discussions about parting with the pick if they can get value in return. The Sixers are open to trading it for future assets or a veteran player. Trade discussions could heat up early next week, though it’s not a certainty that they’ll trade the pick. The Sixers also have a second-round pick (50th).
After multiple reports suggested Lillard could ask out of Portland, he clarified last week that such rumblings were inaccurate. Simmons, currently the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn’t be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.
Plus, right now, the Sixers are gauging teams’ interest in acquiring three-time All-Star Ben Simmons via a trade. At the moment, they’re in no rush to part ways with Simmons for what they perceive are unsubstantial offers. The Sixers are only prepared to make a move if they receive an All-Star player in return.
Internally, team sources view a lot of the reported offers floated around the league as transparent attempts to lower Simmons' trade value below where it actually is. The Sixers are uninterested in packages returning multiple role players and picks in exchange for Simmons, according to a source familiar with the situation. As one specific example, a source told PhillyVoice the Sixers would not even entertain a discussion with the Sacramento Kings save for the inclusion of guard De'Aaron Fox in a potential deal, which they view simply as a starting point for talks.
Philadelphia's position on trading No. 28 is not contingent or related to the big ongoing discussion around Ben Simmons, whose future remains up in the air for the time being. The Sixers have continued to put a high sticker price on Simmons and are under no pressure or rush to deal him if the right opportunity doesn't present itself, according to sources familiar with the situation.
My understanding is that talks for Simmons to this point are just talks with teams expressing interest leading up to the draft. Certainly, there’s a high amount of interest in a guy that’s been an All-Star for several seasons and an All-Defensive player. Philly is in a win-now mode. They’re not trying to settle on anything or taking back future assets. You’ve got Joel Embiid in the prime of his career and an MVP candidate. The time for them is now, and the rest of their supporting cast is fitting around Embiid to shoot. Simmons, I’ve heard, has been in the gym working. He does recognize there’s a part of his game he needs to address with his shooting.
Marc Stein of the New York Times fanned those flames Tuesday when he reported the Kings were one of at least five teams showing interest in Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star who could transform Sacramento’s porous defense. The potential for a deal is there, but the 76ers are reportedly seeking an All-Star caliber player in return. De’Aaron Fox would probably fit that description, but sources have maintained the Kings are highly unlikely to trade their dynamic 23-year-old point guard.
Apparently, not everybody is as down on Simmons as Philadelphia fans. We spoke to an NBA scout who has a deep knowledge of the Sixers, and he remains in Simmons’ corner. The scout, who requested anonymity, spoke of Simmons in glowing terms. “I would be damned to give up on him and not get superior talent back,” the scout said.
A key for everything is if Simmons can bounce back from the postseason, where he shot just 15-for-45 from the foul line in the seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series loss to the Atlanta Hawks. “The guy is an All-Star-caliber player,” the scout said of Simmons. “He will never be the greatest shooter, but he does a whole lot for a team and I would not give up on him yet.”
Simmons has to brace for the very real possibility that he winds up with a team he doesn't choose. The 76ers have insisted they will not be rushed or pressured into trading Simmons no matter how many outsiders declare his partnership with Joel Embiid irreparable. Debate about Simmons' trade value and how much it has cratered in the wake of his miserable postseason has nonetheless bubbled all over the league since the buzzer sounded on Philadelphia's Game 7 home loss to Atlanta.
Just scan through the teams that have been linked to a Simmons trade already: Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota and Sacramento are known suitors. Toronto is also said to have expressed interest. More will emerge.
The length of Simmons’ contract, if not the dollars, only adds to his appeal to teams that do not typically attract free agents. He has four seasons left on his contract at nearly $150 million — and the team control that comes with that status, in most cases, is bound to outweigh any trepidation teams might feel about the pressure Simmons' agent Rich Paul can apply to dissuade them from pursuing him.
Yet even if Morey, deep down, wishes he had a do-over on his January or March dealings, he has shown little inclination to rush into shedding Simmons, which is undoubtedly a nod to one of the most complex situations he has ever faced. All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland’s CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer.
Yet it's worth noting that inevitable rumbles of Lakers interest would not merely emanate from Simmons’ status as a Paul client like LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Word is that the Lakers, on top of their well-chronicled need for more shooting, covet one more difference-making playmaker who would allow James and Davis to spend more time at power forward and center.
The Lakers, remember, face such severe financial restrictions that re-signing Dennis Schröder might be the splashiest move they can make this offseason. If they prove willing to trade Kyle Kuzma or even Talen Horton-Tucker to push those limits, that's still not going to get them into Simmons territory. To be clear: I don't see Lakerland as a good landing spot for Simmons even if they had the means to make it happen. Although Simmons and the Sixers both badly need a fresh start because of all the swirling angst from this season's unhappy ending and years of frustration building up to it, asking Simmons try to rebuild his game and self-confidence in the league's most withering spotlight seems particularly unwise.
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.”
March 22, 2023 | 9:21 pm EDT Update
Walt “Clyde” Frazier said he’d been “meandering” all day on Wednesday, one day after the loss of his longtime friend, captain and championship teammate, Willis Reed. “It took me so long to get dressed today,” the famously fashionable Frazier said softly before working Wednesday’s game between the Knicks and the Heat as the longtime analyst for MSG Networks. “It’s been devastating. After seeing him on the video for the 50th anniversary, I didn’t know he was that far gone. Everybody was really surprised.”
Law Murray: Clippers injury report for Thursday night: – Paul George (right knee) out – Norman Powell (left shoulder) out – Brandon Boston Jr. (tailbone) out – Jason Preston (G-League) out – Moussa Diabaté (2-way) out – Xavier Moon (2-way) out
Damichael Cole: A loud standing ovation for Ja Morant in his return to the floor. pic.twitter.com/0LrY2x5Afb
March 22, 2023 | 8:24 pm EDT Update
Mike Brown on Domantas Sabonis: He's as close to Draymond Green as a big man
Sabonis leads the NBA in rebounding and is dishing a career-high 7 assists per game. Every teammate — even Fox — knows to run the wings when Sabonis grabs a defensive board. “He is as close to Draymond Green as any big man I’ve seen in terms of someone who can get it off the glass, bring it up, and make the right play,” says Brown, who coached Green as an assistant in Golden State for six seasons.
During Sabonis’ rookie year in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook invited Sabonis to early-morning workouts to go through the nuances of pick-and-roll, says Billy Donovan, who coached that Thunder team. They drilled how to read a defender’s feet, when Sabonis could slip screens, how Sabonis could make himself available for pocket passes. (One of Sabonis’ rookie duties was supplying Westbrook with Snapple for team flights, Sabonis and others on that team recall.) Sabonis was astonished that Fox ceded so much ball handling to him right away, including letting Sabonis rush the ball up after rebounds. “I was really surprised,” Sabonis says. “He has been with the Kings forever. This is his team. He really let me do my thing. Not many franchise point guards would let their big man bring the ball up. He ran with me. He set screens for me. That’s what shocked me most. That’s what made the transition so easy. Neither of us care who is who. We just want to win.”
Sabonis suffered an avulsion fracture in his right thumb and ligament damage in his hand. Fixing it required surgery that would cost between six and eight weeks. The Kings were 17-14, sixth in the West, only a couple games ahead of No. 11. Sabonis wanted to keep playing. “In my mind, sitting out was not an option,” he says. “Six to eight weeks — we can’t risk that.” He asked the team’s medical staff to wait to see if the swelling would subside. It did — enough. He joked that he didn’t use his right hand anyway. After consulting with doctors, trainers, and Sabonis’ agents, the decision was made: He’d play on. The training staff nicknamed him “Wolverine” for his apparent imperviousness to pain.
“He didn’t always understand — this should come from you,” Brown says. “To tape that thumb up and say ‘I’m playing,’ it sets the tone for the whole team. If he and De’Aaron are doing things like that, everyone else falls into line.”
In the weeks before the trade, Thunder officials had talked to Sabonis about playing him more at center — the position he preferred. He pictured himself in Oklahoma City long-term. As free agency approached, Sabonis heard rumors the Thunder might sign Blake Griffin and worried he could end up traded as a result. When news broke that the Clippers had re-signed Griffin, Sabonis was relieved and went to bed to rest up for his summer league game the next day. Minutes later, Thunder officials called to tell him he had been traded. “I was in shock,” he says. “Like, are you joking? I was not so happy.”