The biggest bomb to come from Shams’ report on Tuesday was about Simmons.
In that report, The Athletic said that the 76ers are open for business regarding a potential Simmons trade and that they’ve already had such talks with teams around the league:
The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic. Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.
The report also contradicted what many believed, that Simmons could be had for cheaper than normal right now after a brutal playoff showing to end his 2020-21 campaign. In fact, per The Athletic, the opposite is true and interest in the southpaw ball-handler league-wide remains high:
“(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,” one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said. Make no mistake: Interest across the league in Simmons remains robust. He’s turning just 25 this month, was an All-NBA team member in 2019-20, is a two-time All-Defensive first-team member and a Rookie of the Year award winner. Simmons is under contract through 2025, making him the type of superstar talent that rarely becomes available at an attainable price at this juncture of his career.
New York Times reporter Marc Stein would report similar later on Tuesday, stating that Simmons’ contract, which will keep him locked up through 2024-25 and pay him an annual average value of roughly $35.5 million, is actually seen as a positive by prospective trade suitors:
The length of Simmons’ contract, if not the dollars, only adds to his appeal to teams that do not typically attract free agents. He has four seasons left on his contract at nearly $150 million — and the team control that comes with that status, in most cases, is bound to outweigh any trepidation teams might feel about the pressure Simmons’ agent Rich Paul can apply to dissuade them from pursuing him.
Stein would also go on to specifically mention the teams he’s hearing as having an interest in Simmons: the Cavaliers, Kings, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors.
A fascinating situation to monitor out of Philadelphia, as it appears we have our likeliest star-level player to be traded this offseason, Simmons, who never proved to be a truly great fit next to Joel Embiid and has, if anything, regressed under Doc Rivers in their first year together.
Though with a frame like his, playmaking and ball-handling capabilities like he has and downright special defensive attributes, Simmons would be a welcome addition to pretty much any roster across the Association.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Sixers can get for Simmons if they do manage to move him this offseason. Will it be a superstar? Or will it be a trove of assets?
Our own Yossi Gozlan recently broke down what the trade market might look like for Simmons, be it if Philadelphia moves the talented guard for an available superstar, an All-Star or draft assets.
For now, though, we wait and see what major trade will shake up the market as the 2021 offseason – one that could be filled with trade action due to a weak free-agent class and limited cap space around the league – nears.
For the latest Ben Simmons trade rumblings, click here.
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