The worst kept secret in the NBA is the Philadelphia 76ers’ desire to trade Ben Simmons. The All-Star forward has been involved in trade rumors since his underwhelming performance in the team’s second round defeat to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Simmons is the biggest name on trade market right now, but that doesn’t mean Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is just going to give him away. The opposite is true according to reports: teams that have engaged the Sixers on Simmons trades have reportedly found out that Morey is asking for an astronomical amount of assets in exchange for the 25-year-old.
The Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Toronto Raptors have each reportedly come to the 76ers with trade packages for Simmons. None of them were willing or able to meet Morey’s asking price. If Simmons does get traded this summer, it sure feels like it’s going to take a king’s ransom to get it done.
The 76ers wanted everything from the Warriors for Ben Simmons
The Warriors are seeking immediate help for another championship push next season. Golden State has Steph Curry coming off an MVP-caliber year, Draymond Green still producing at an All-Defense level, and Klay Thompson finally returning from injury after two years. Simmons would be a great fit next to that core.
When the Warriors called the 76ers about Simmons, Morey demanded James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the 2021 draft, and two future first round picks, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Warriors declined.
Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick last year, but is coming off a disappointing rookie year. The talent in this year’s draft class falls off hard after the fourth pick. This is certainly a ton to give up for Simmons — one of the league’s best defenders who may be broken offensively — but it’s possible the Warriors will also regret not cashing in their chips for a young All-Star whose shortcomings would be masked by their system.
The 76ers asked for ‘every young player’ plus draft picks from the Cavaliers for Ben Simmons
The Cleveland Cavaliers enter the draft holding the No. 3 overall pick and likely rights to USC center Evan Mobley. The Cavs reportedly engaged the 76ers on a potential package for Simmons, and were told they would need to surrender every talented young player on the roster in addition to multiple future draft picks. From Zach Harper of The Athletic:
“League sources said brief conversations between Cleveland and Philadelphia were explored, but an asking price of every young player the Cavs value plus multiple first-round picks in the future wasn’t something they’d consider.”
Cleveland declined. The Cavs are positioned to have a compelling young roster next year led by Isaac Okoro, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Mobley.
The Raptors were also rejected for their Ben Simmons trade package
Toronto reportedly made an offer for Simmons, but Morey turned them down. The package included Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Toronto’s No. 4 overall pick. Matt Moore of The Action Network had the report:
“Multiple sources confirmed Sunday that the Toronto Raptors have emerged as a team with ‘significant’ interest in Simmons. One source close to talks said discussions have not been substantial as of yet. Multiple sources including those close to talks said a proposed framework including Raptors guards Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s draft for Simmons was rejected by Toronto.”
The 76ers likely want Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard for Ben Simmons
While it’s widely presumed the Sixers have to trade Simmons as soon as possible, that’s not necessarily the case. Philadelphia reportedly wants an All-Star level player in return for Simmons, and there are big ones on the cusp of hitting the trade market: Wizards star Bradley Beal and Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Beal can become a free agent in the summer of 2022. Would the Wizards really want to lose him for nothing? While a potential Beal trade has been framed on the guard’s desires to this point, Washington will also have to face the reality that it’s possible he leaves in free agency one year from now.
Lillard is under contract for four more seasons, but he has started to put pressure on the Blazers to win now. If Portland comes up short again this season, perhaps a deal centered around Simmons-for-Lillard could be a reality mid-season or after the upcoming year.
The 76ers have time on their side. Simmons is under contract for multiple years and remains one of the league’s top defenders. We can’t wait to see how this all plays out.