The drama surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers since they were bounced out of Round 2 by the Atlanta Hawks back in June has been the status of Ben Simmons. The 25-year old had another underwhelming postseason run and the Sixers have been taking trade calls on him.
The Sixers have set a high asking price for the 3-time All-Star, as they should, and they have not yet been able to find the right deal for president Daryl Mory’s liking. As training camp continues to approach–Sept. 28–the Sixers still have Simmons on the roster and they have to figure out what to do in a potentially awkward situation.
Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and The Stadium, league executives believe the Sixers will still move Simmons before the season begins on Oct. 20 against the New Orleans Pelicans.
For now, all signs continue to point to Simmons’ career in Philadelphia coming to an end.
Simmons was almost moved to the Rockets along with Matisse Thybulle and two first-round picks in the James Harden negotiations, but Houston traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. With previous trade talks coming so close to moving Simmons out of Philadelphia — coupled with the comments of Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers to end the 76ers season — the writing appears to be on the wall.
The Timberwolves have been motivated to find a deal for Simmons but would likely require a third team given their asset pool of Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels and D’Angelo Russell might not entice the 76ers.
That third team is assumably the Portland Trail Blazers as the Sixers have had their eyes on Damian Lillard all along. Philadelphia has made it their ultimate goal to acquire Lillard and Charania reports that nothing has changed on that front:
Philadelphia has its eyes set on Portland All-NBA guard Damian Lillard, sources say, but the Trail Blazers have fully focused on continuing to build around Lillard. As of now, Lillard is continuing to evaluate the Trail Blazers’ present and future and is slated to begin training camp with the organization. In some ways, the 76ers are stuck between deciding whether to make a move now with Simmons — or waiting until a star like Lillard shakes free.
At this point, it does appear that Philadelphia is stuck in a tough situation. Do they move Simmons for pennies on the dollar to avoid an upcoming awkward situation? Or do they wait it out, deal with the awkwardness, and hope that Lillard does end up shaking free in Portland? There is a lot that Morey, coach Doc Rivers, and the rest of the team need to continue to assess.
For now, the focus is getting into training camp and continuing to chase a title. Whether Simmons is here or not, Philadelphia still figures to be one of the top contenders in the East and they will have a lot of catching up to do with the Milwaukee Bucks as the defending champions as well as a healthy Brooklyn Nets team.
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Source: Yahoo Sports