In fact, it was the Sixers and agent Rich Paul who first agreed to search for a trade centered on Simmons at the end of last season. Things seemed agreeable and fairly cordial at the time.
Now, however, it appears they are getting testy, and with camp set to begin in just about a week. A deep-drive into all the drama was chronicled in an excellent report from Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice.
“He has said he wants to go,” a Sixers source told Neubeck. “Ben doesn’t want to be here…but there’s a lot of things we want too.”
And as far any good feelings involving Paul … well, it seems those too have dissipated. For one, the Sixers were apparently hoping things could be patched up and Simmons would just go about his business in lieu of a trade. But again, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Simmons apparently is done with the Sixers.
“He could just say, ‘My agent talked me into this stupid f***ing strategy,'” the source told Neubeck.
Simmons knows he could be fined, suspended and lose salary if he should out of training camp, yet intends to do so anyway, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That is certainly something about which he has had Paul in his ear.
“Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team,” Wojnarowski wrote.
It’s been reported that the 76ers’ asking price has been unreasonably high. Per Neubeck, a deal could have already taken place.
“There are a few deals you could say, we do this, and we’ll gamble that sometime later, we’ll take draft picks and turn it back into having [a title] chance,” the source told Neubeck.
“But why do that?…there’s no reason to go get draft picks right now because you could just do it all at once. Why take the risk that you do that and you can’t flip back out of it? It makes no sense with Joel in his prime.”
The Cavaliers, Kings, Timberwolves and Rockets are among those who are believed to have the strongest interest in Simmons. League sources have repeatedly told Hoops Wire that any deal involving Simmons is likely to be between the 76ers, the trade partner, and a third team to assist the deal.
In other words, a Simmons trade shouldn’t be thought of as a straight-up deal just between two teams, sources indicated.
“The Sixers are expecting at least some sort of absence to open the preseason, sources say, though most are convinced he will eventually show up, citing a lack of precedent for extended holdouts in the NBA,” Neubeck reported. “There has been some public debate over whether the Sixers would fine him for such a move in the midst of trying to work through all this, though it seems pretty black-and-white on Philly’s end.”