No less than 10 teams have been involved with the 76ers in trade talks centered on star guard/forward Ben Simmons, though a deal still seems improbable at the moment, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
The Celtics, Cavaliers, Spurs, Raptors, Pacers, Pistons, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Timberwolves and Kings are the “known teams that remain engaged” with the 76ers on a Simmons deal, Fischer wrote.
Fischer’s report is actually the second this week to link the Celtics to Simmons, following up a similar account from The Athletic’s Shams Charania. But of all the potential trade partners listed above, the Celtics seem the least likely to pull the trigger on a Simmons deal, Fischer wrote.
That especially appears to be the case if the 76ers are trying to pry guard/forward Jaylen Brown away from Boston. Per Brian Robb of MassLive.com, Brown is not available.
But according to Fischer, that is precisely who 76ers director of basketball operations Daryl Morey has sought in conversations with the Celtics. “Morey has long maintained his team is only open to moving Simmons for a player like Brown,” Fischer wrote.
In order to land Brown, the Sixers would likely need to attach a player and draft picks to Simmons. “When push ultimately comes to shove, the Celtics would seem far more inclined to offer a package centered around Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III, which was the often-rumored framework of Boston’s initial efforts to land Aaron Gordon before last year’s trade deadline,” Fischer reported.
For now, though, it appears the Celtics-76ers talks have been little more than hot air, with neither side willing to budge. Morey, by an large, appears to be holding out hope for a king’s ransom — and may be able to land the best possible deal on or after Dec. 15.
That is the day when players who signed offseason contracts are eligible to be traded. It also gives teams enough time to assess their current rosters and direction before making moves.
Simmons, 25, has yet to appear in a game this season and has barely practiced with the team. He reportedly has told Morey he’s not yet mentally ready to play in games.
Perhaps the NBA’s best perimeter defender, Simmons’ lack of a perimeter shot is what is making rival teams hesitant to mortgage the farm in a deal.
Multiple league sources have told Hoops Wire they believe Simmons is more likely to be traded in a multi-team and player package, as opposed to a straight-up trade between two teams. All, however, believe he will be moved before the February trade deadline.
“There’s belief among rival executives and league personnel that Simmons could even remain on the Sixers roster past the trade deadline,” Fischer wrote. “Morey’s asking price remains higher than any rival front office has been willing to match.”
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