With Damian Lillard officially out of the equation for Philly, their quest to bring in an All-Star level replacement for Ben Simmons has taken a new turn.
Since December 15th marks the unofficial start of the NBA's trade season, it's no surprise Simmons talks have been picking up steam in the past few days and there is a growing belief that this saga will end sooner rather than later.
The Sixers are becoming more engaged on multiple fronts in talks centered on Simmons. Philadelphia has been aggressively trying to assemble two- and three-team deal structures to land a package that would include a top 25-level player, sources said.
Much of the increased momentum centers on Wednesday, when many players signed in the offseason as free agents become eligible to be traded. Starting Dec. 15, 84% of the 446 players under contract can be included in deals. Currently, 65% of the league's players are eligible.
While it's mostly unknown which teams have been talking with Philly, we know of at least one franchise that has been in contact with them recently: the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to insider Darren Wolfson, the two sides have been in touch in recent days.
Simmons, 25, has not been seen since Game 7 of the Eastern Semi-Finals last season. That series was Ben at his worst, and it was just weeks later when his trade demand went public.
Over the following weeks and months, the Sixers have been focused on acquiring All-Star level talent in return for their disgruntled star. Minnesota certainly has what they're looking for, and it has been reported in the past that the Wolves are highly interested in striking some sort of deal.
But Daryl Morey wants a premium package that includes Anthony Edwards and more. For now, that cost is just too great for the Timberwolves, who have shown great potential this season.