Or as Stein explained it, the Cavs are keeping their “hat in the ring to try to pry” Simmons from Philadelphia.
Simmons, 25, has reportedly told the 76ers he is seeking a trade and won’t report to training camp later this month. On the bright side for Simmons, the Sixers have been trying to move him since the end of the playoffs.
Simmons would be open to playing for Cleveland, per multiple Hoops Wire sources and various outside reports, including Evan Dammerall of Fear The Sword.
“They’re interested and you cannot count them out,” a rival executive recently told Hoops Wire.
Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, also represents Cavs point guard Darius Garland, and Simmons has held workouts at Garfield Heights High School near Cleveland.
But again, the 76ers’ asking price for Simmons appears to be significant. Some have suggested they are asking way too much, and likely will have to consider lowering their demands.
“There are teams that are interested in Ben Simmons, they just don’t want to pay the steep price,” Pompey said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic Monday morning. “Ben Simmons knows that, so they are saying why should we help the 76ers out when they feel like when Doc Rivers said what he said, nobody apologized, and Doc was never reprimanded.”
Pompey is referring to Rivers’ comments after the 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs. When asked if Simmons could be a point guard on a championship-caliber team, Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
But the theory that Simmons is looking to move on may force the 76ers to lower expectations on a return.
“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 later added, “The kid said he’s not going back. I’m not giving you what you’re demanding. They really messed this up.”
“An acquisition of Simmons would further crowd Cleveland’s frontcourt,” RealGM wrote. “The Cavaliers also need to resolve the situation with Kevin Love, though he could conceivably be used as salary ballast in a deal for Simmons.”
Simmons is coming off a subpar playoff showing, with the 76ers losing to the Hawks in the second round. 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.
Follow Sam Amico: @AmicoHoops