A trade centered on 76ers star guard/forward Ben Simmons is believed to be “inevitable,” but could come closer to training camp in October, sources told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Cavaliers, Kings, Pacers and Timberwolves are said to be among the most aggressive suitors for Simmons. Plenty of others are also interested, given that this is considered a weaker-than-usual free agent class.
Per Pompey, the 76ers are seeking a package that includes a point guard in return. They also have their sights set pretty high, aiming for a star player along the lines of Blazers guard Damian Lillard or Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
In talks with the Kings, the Sixers are said to be seeking point guard De’Aaron Fox as part of a return. But Sacramento reportedly considers Fox off-limits.
Meanwhile, the Cavs have reportedly made guard Collin Sexton available, and a deal involving Sexton may eventually be enough to entice the Sixers.
Also, the Pacers are reportedly open to moving center Myles Turner, though he has yet to be linked to Philadelphia.
But right now, the belief is that rival teams will approach a Simmons trade with more urgency closer to the start of the season, Pompey noted.
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.
Either way, agent Rich Paul has been meeting with Morey regularly to discuss Simmons’ future with the franchise, something that started at the NBA Combine in Chicago last month, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Along with Simmons, the 76ers are looking to trade the No. 28 overall pick in Thursday’s draft, as Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice was the first to report.
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