Short On Lucrative Offers, 76ers May Opt To Keep Ben Simmons

The 76ers are expecting star guard/forward Ben Simmons to join the team for the 2021-22 season after a lack of viable trade offers, according to Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times.Ben Simmons

Simmons, 25, has supposedly told the 76ers he does not intend to report to training camp. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has been seeking a deal.

But so far, it seems, the 76ers have been unable to find anything that matches the return they’re seeking, Moore wrote. If that’s the case, they intend to keep Simmons for at least another year.

Moore reported that the Sixers are “unwilling to settle for young players and draft picks with franchise cornerstone Joel Embiid in his prime,” and therefore are “expecting/hoping” Simmons will be back.

Per multiple reports, Simmons and agent Rich Paul have been in contact with the Sixers about their future together.

“It’s bumpy right now,” Moore quoted a source as saying. “Right now, they’re saying he’s not going to show up at the beginning. Eventually he’s going to show up. (The Sixers will) go from there.”

The Cavaliers, Kings, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers and others have been linked to Simmons — but clearly, no one has offered the type of package the 76ers are seeking.

“Vice president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has explored all available trade possibilities and hasn’t been able to secure a top 5-10 player in exchange for Simmons, a three-time all-star selection and NBA Defensive Player of the Year runner-up last season,” Moore wrote. “The Blazers, for example, aren’t willing to part with star guard Damian Lillard.”

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported a small-market team has made an offer for Simmons and that four or five remain in the hunt overall.

“I know of at least one … small market team that has made an offer and has a lot of interest and it just hasn’t gotten public yet,” Windhorst said.

Windhorst is a former Cavs beat reporter who hails from Akron, so his comments have certainly created lots of speculation in Cleveland. He was speaking on a Minneapolis podcast, so the same applies there.

Also, Marc Stein of Substack recently reported the Cavs continue to “pry” Simmons from the 76ers. (You can read my related Dribbles here.)

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.

Paul also represents Cavs point guard Darius Garland, and Simmons has held workouts at Garfield Heights High School near Cleveland.

Still, 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,” Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. “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.”

Simmons is coming off a subpar playoff showing, with the 76ers losing to the Hawks in the second round. He 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.

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