Ben Simmons has missed more than a month’s worth of games for the Philadelphia 76ers thus far this season, but the embattled superstar is no closer to receiving the trade he seeks than he was when the offseason began. In fact, it appears as if the 76ers have already settled on the terms of an agreeable deal … and they’re willing to wait quite some time to get it. Philadelphia has a list of approximately 30 players that it would deem acceptable in a Simmons trade, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. While none are seemingly available at this moment, the 76ers are reportedly confident that between 5-10 of them will be within the next year or two.
Whether or not Simmons will return to the court in that time is unclear, but 76ers president Daryl Morey has made it clear that he’s willing to wait this thing out. “This could be four years,” Morey said in a recent interview with 97.5 The Fanatic, reflecting the length of Simmons’ contract. “This is not a day-to-day thing. This is every day we’re going to expect Ben Simmons to be back here, or we’re trading him for a difference-maker. There’s no other outcome that doesn’t materially hurt our chance to win the championship in Joel Embiid’s prime.”
Amick reports that Damian Lillard, James Harden and Bradley Beal are all on Philadelphia’s list of difference-makers. It’s unclear who else might be, but if the list is 30 names deep, it’s a safe guess that most 2021 All-Stars made the cut along with a select group of young players. Which of them may become available in the near future is less clear. Lillard and Beal have been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time, but Lillard has made it clear he is not seeking a deal at this time and Beal’s Wizards are 10-4 and leading the Eastern Conference. Harden can become a free agent this offseason, but is widely expected to remain with the Brooklyn Nets.
There is the added caveat here that teams trading players of that caliber may or may not be interested in Simmons. Reports have indicated that Simmons has lost a substantial amount of trade value throughout this saga, and even if he hadn’t, his limitations as a shooter means that he fits only with a very specific sort of roster.
In other words, it appears as if the standoff between Simmons and the 76ers isn’t ending anytime soon. If there are only 30 players in basketball Philadelphia considers worthy of its disgruntled All-Star, it might have to wait quite some time to actually land one.
Courtesy: CBS Sports