The Ben Simmons situation just got real serious with Shams Charania’s report that the Philadelphia 76ers have officially put the former No. 1 overall pick on the trading block. It’s an incredible turn of events for a 24-year-old star who was just inked to a long-term contract extension last year.
After five years in Philly and three All-Star nods, but no ability to develop a jump shot or get his squad beyond Round 2 of the playoffs, Sixers decision-makers have apparently decided that their relationship with Simmons has run its course.
With a move now seeming inevitable, the big question facing the Sixers is whether or not they’ll be able to net a superstar-level return on the trade market. Pundits and prognosticators from around the hoops blogosphere have devoted an incredible amount of keystrokes to talking about how much Simmons’ value has plummeted recently.
And after he made just 34.2% of his free throws during the Sixers’ latest postseason run and generally shied away from taking ownership of the team’s biggest moments, a dip in the quality of trade offers would stand to reason.
However, the sheer number of teams said to be making a run at Simmons may paint a different picture of his trade value.
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Stein Talks Simmons’ Suitors
In his Tuesday treatise on the Simmons situation, longtime NBA scribe and league insider Marc Stein listed off four teams that have been linked to the Aussie floor general. And none of them are as close to winning a title as the Sixers.
Per Stein, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings have been kicking the tires on a Simmons deal.
Of course, these likely aren’t the droids that Simmons is looking for. However, Stein believes that more suitors will emerge as the process goes forward. Regardless of who comes out of the woodwork, though, Sixers president Daryl Morey isn’t going to be rushed or pushed into sending Simmons to a team of his choosing.
He’ll hold out as long as necessary and negotiate with whoever he needs to in order to ensure a big-time return.
“If he can’t get a true headliner back for Simmons in connection with the draft, or when free agency hits in August, some rivals believe Morey is as willing as any executive in his position to let Simmons and Embiid start a fifth season together if necessary – even if that means some tension or awkwardness seeps into the locker room when training camp starts in late September.”
That said, a versatile, young star and potential franchise player on a long-term deal isn’t something that hits the market often. Teams are going to put their best foot forward if they want to land him, especially with more and more of them entering the fray.
Lakers Deal off the Table?
One team that probably won’t be involved in the Simmons sweepstakes, according to Stein, is the Los Angeles Lakers. Although Rob Pelinka would probably love to have a third star playing next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, his team just doesn’t have the wherewithal to make a serious play.
“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.”
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