It seemed like only a matter of time before star guard/forward Ben Simmons and the 76ers parted ways, and perhaps that time is nearer.
According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons has requested a trade, informing the Sixers he does not intend to come to the start of training camp in late September.
Multiple reports have suggested Simmons, agent Rich Paul and the 76ers have been agreeable to discuss his future moving forward and seek a possible trade.
That said, the 76ers’ asking price has been unreasonably high, reports suggest.
“Think about three months ago when the Sixers are willing to give up Ben Simmons. You are like, ‘Let’s see what we have to do to get him,’” a Western Conference executive said, via Pompey. “Now, the difference is Ben Simmons says he refuses to play for the Sixers. He wants to go to three California teams. There’s so much bad blood between him and the team.”
The executive added Philadelphia’s asking price will now have to come down — given that everyone knows Simmons is looking to move on.
“The kid said he’s not going back,” the executive said. “I’m not giving you what you’re demanding. They really messed this up.”
The Timberwolves, Kings and several others have already been linked to Simmons, with Minnesota “persistent” in its pursuit, per Adrian Wojarowski of ESPN.
“Philadelphia has continued to try to see if they can find a deal for Simmons before the start of camp,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up earlier this month. “They have not had success, you know, really getting any traction for the high asking price they’re asking for for Ben Simmons.
“Minnesota is one team that’s been persistent with Philadelphia, but they’ve needed to have, really, third and even fourth teams in those kinds of deals to get back to Philly what it would want. …
“I think for the Sixers, if they’re going to trade Ben Simmons, they’ve got to get back players right now who continue on that Joel Embiid timeline of having an MVP-level player in his prime, that you’re trying to win championships with, and that’s a hard package to get back for Ben Simmons right now. There’s a very distinct possibility he’s going to have to come back to training camp with them next season.”
Simmons, 25, is coming off a subpar playoff showing, with the 76ers losing to the Hawks in the second round of the playoffs. Simmons either refused to shoot or shot poorly late in games, finishing a historically bad 34 percent on free throws.
Still, at 6-foot-10 he is an accomplished passer and defender on the wing, averaging 14.9 points and 6.9 assists this past season. He finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season — and for all the grief he takes about his jumper, he is a career 56 percent shooter.