Sixers Targeting West Teams As Possible Ben Simmons Trade Partners

The primary focus for Klutch Sports in a trade of 76ers star Ben Simmons is to find a team that will build the offense around him, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.Ben Simmons

Klutch is headed by agent Rich Paul.

O’Connor reported sources have indicated no trade of Simmons is yet close, though he has been linked to multiple teams, including the Cavaliers, Kings, Timberwolves and Rockets.

Along with that, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported that the 76ers appear to be targeting teams in the Western Conference as potential trade partners. Simmons is holding out while seeking a trade.

“Offers for Simmons have thus far included draft picks or young players, not anything a contender like Philadelphia would want,” O’Connor wrote. “And since nearly half the league is ineligible to be dealt until December 15, teams that might be willing to offer a veteran can’t do that yet.”

He added that “reasonable” offers for Simmons have already been made, but “acceptable” offers may not come until as late as January.

The news from O’Connor and Zillgitt came after a report that Simmons was unmoved by comments made by center Joel Embiid and general manager Daryl Morey at the team’s media day.

Embiid said he hopes Simmons changes his mind, and Morey said there is “a lot of hope” around the franchise that the 76ers and Simmons can reconcile. But per Sam Amick of The Athletic, Simmons is only more agitated, particularly after hearing Morey’s comments.

“It’s total bulls-t,” Amick quoted a source with knowledge of Simmons’ thinking as saying.

Overall, Amick reported, the Sixers’ message of hope and positivity “fell flat” with Simmons.

Along with that, Simmons apparently has decided he no longer wants to play with Embiid, though there are no personal issues between the stars, Amick wrote.

“It has run its course,” a source told Amick of the Simmons-Embiid pairing.

Embiid said on media day that Simmons is an important part of the franchise moving forward.

“Of course, we want him back,” Embiid told reporters. “He’s a big piece of what we’ve been doing the past few years.”

Meanwhile, Morey confirmed Monday that Simmons’ representatives requested a trade back in June. 

Simmons, Paul, Morey, general manager Elton Brand, Rivers and team owner Josh Harris reportedly met last month in Los Angeles to discuss Simmons’ future. Rivers said Monday he’s not sure why Simmons wants out of Philadelphia.

“It’s tough to play here,” Rivers told reporters. “Ben didn’t say that. I can’t say he said that. That’s just an assumption.”

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported sources as indicating that it will be tough for Simmons to have a “working relationship” with the 76ers. “That stems from feeling thrown under the bus by the team after the Game 7 loss (to the Hawks),” Pompey wrote.

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.

“There are teams that are interested in Ben Simmons, they just don’t want to pay the steep price,” Pompey said during a recent 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 was referring to Rivers’ comments after the 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Hawks. 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.”

Rivers denied making that comment, though it has been recorded by multiple outlets.

“That’s not what I said, actually,” Rivers said when asked about the comment. “This is when narratives … and this is what makes our jobs hard. I actually said when the guy asked, guys, I’m not answering that stuff right now. I don’t even know how to answer that. So what I was talking about was not answering the question. It had nothing to do with Ben.”

Rivers clarified the remarks in a press conference the following day, then insisted during an ESPN appearance last week that he still believes in Simmons.

“Yeah, all day. All day. He just does so many things, man,” Rivers said.

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