For months now, rumors and reports of Ben Simmons' waning patience with the Sixers has been a huge story
After yet another early playoff exit, in which Ben's shooting struggles were exposed in shocking fashion, the relationship between the organization and their young star reached an All-Time low -- apparently getting so bad that he has begun to ghost the franchise altogether.
"The Sixers want to say 'come back and let’s work on this,' but it doesn’t seem like there’s a bridge there that is being walked across by both sides like that. I don’t know if Ben Simmons has that interest right now because things were said afterwards.
After the season, Doc Rivers said some things, Joel Embiid said some things. I know there’s been trying to smoothing out of that relationship, but it doesn’t seem like Ben is necessarily interested in that right now,”
Obviously, nobody knows how this swan song will end, but it's clear that Philly will not trade Ben for some random compilation of assets.
Rather, they've got their eyes set on one man in particular, and will hold on for as long as it takes to get him:
For the Sixers and president Daryl Morey to move Simmons, it will be with an eye toward maximizing the prime of Joel Embiid, who signed a $196 million, 4-year extension Monday night. Therefore trading Simmons now for anything short of a haul that could immediately be flipped for Lillard, in the event he does request a trade, would be a devastating blow for Philadelphia's front office, and their efforts to pair Embiid with a bonafide superstar.
But that Lillard request may not be coming anytime soon.
Despite mounting pressure for the Sixers to make a move, holding out for Lillard isn't a completely ridiculous idea.
If the day comes when Lillard asks for a trade, the Sixers would have the assets to make a really compelling offer, possibly including Ben, Thybulle, and multiple first-round picks.
Pairing Lillard with Embiid (who just recently inked an extension) would be the best-case scenario for Philadelphia.
But holding onto their unhappy star for too long is a big risk and one that could seriously damage their future.