The Philadelphia 76ers-Ben Simmons situation continues as this article is being written. The player entered a tumultuous period after the Atlanta Hawks eliminated the Sixers in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, with Ben getting a lot of criticism for his displays during that series.
After that, the player went missing, cut off communications with the team, and refused to meet with teammates in Los Angeles. Following his return to Philly, the player admitted he wasn't mentally ready to play, seeking help through the NBPA.
The Sixers resumed the finings for Simmons, as they believed the player is lying about his condition. Still, they're not making any progress in trading Ben, which is his desire right now.
However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the team is actually looking for options to swap Simmons. Yet, it'll take some time before they make a move that involves the Australian point guard. Talking about the situation, Amick reveals that the Sixers have a 30-man list to exchange for Ben.
Is a trade coming anytime soon?
In a word, no. It does not appear any deal will happen soon. As it stands, Simmons isn’t going anywhere until Morey is able to swap him for a truly elite player. And yes, in case you wondered, the Sixers have an actual list of such names internally.
As you may have heard by now, Portland’s Damian Lillard is not only on said list but somewhere near the top. Ditto for Brooklyn’s James Harden, the former Rocket with whom Morey tried unsuccessfully to reunite with in January and who, by the way, could come to Philly via sign-and-trade this summer if he decides to shock the basketball world and leave Kevin Durant behind. Also high on the list: Washington’s Bradley Beal. Those kinds of guys.
But here’s the part that may come as a surprise: A source with knowledge of the list said there are approximately 30 players who would satisfy the Sixers in a Simmons swap, and there’s an internal belief that a fair amount of them — let’s say five to 10 — could become available in the next year or two. And while it might sound like a long list, consider this much: It’s approximately six percent of the league and the rough equivalent to the number of All-Stars selected every season. The framing of the timeline, more than anything else, speaks volumes about the long-term approach the Sixers insist they’re taking.
“This is like a multi-year thing,” a Sixers source said.
As Daryl Morey stated a couple of weeks ago, it could take some years to see Simmons leaving the team. Still, the Sixers don't want to miss out on their chance to cash in on the reputation the playmaker could still have around the league.
His mental health issues could mean a big problem for other franchises since they don't know if Ben's struggles are solely related to his experience with Sixers' fans. That's something to bear in mind for any front office in the league.
Damian Lillard, James Harden and Bradley Beal could be huge additions to the team either next offseason or the one after that. Lillard has been linked with the Sixers for a while now, but he's stated his loyalty is with Portland. Harden hasn't shown any signs of wanting to leave the Nets (even though Stephen A. Smith claims he does), and Bradley Beal is having a terrific season with the Washington Wizards.
It's unclear what other players are part of that long list, but it seems like the Sixers will have plenty of options to deal Simmons.