AP Photo/Matt Slocum
A blockbuster trade featuring
Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons is reportedly “inevitable” before the 2021-22 NBA season.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that interest in Simmons is higher than expected
because of a weak free-agent class, but a timetable for a deal
remains unclear with multiple sources telling Pompey it may not be
finalized until the preseason.
“Philadelphia has options,” a
league source told the Inquirer. “They’re just not finite.”
Simmons put together a strong 2020-21
season for the Sixers. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9
assists and 1.6 steals across 58 appearances. He was named an
All-Star for the third time and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive
first team for the second time.
The 25-year-old Australian’s campaign
ended on a low note, though. He scored just 19 points over the final
three games of the team’s second-round playoff series against the
Atlanta Hawks that Philly lost in seven games.
Those struggles paired with Simmons’
continued shooting woes raised questions about what type of return
the 76ers front office could demand in a trade.
Pompey reported the team has remained
adamant about getting an All-Star player as part of the return
package, but so far no teams has been willing to offer that type of
cornerstone. Instead front offices are seeking a “bargain-basement deal” given the belief the Sixers want to move on from their point
The expectation is the offers will
become more realistic as next season moves closer, per Pompey.
A trade is the best option for all
sides. The Sixers need to shake up their core after failing to reach
championship-level aspirations with the tandem of Simmons and Joel
Embiid, and the point guard could benefit from finding a new home
before facing the wrath of fans in Philadelphia.
“It’s going to be tough for Simmons
to regain favor with Sixers fans. It wouldn’t be surprising if he was
booed at games and heckled around town at the start of next season.
He knows that,” Pompey wrote.
Yet he’s too valuable of a player for
the 76ers to accept pennies on the dollar in return. So waiting on
the offseason free-agent and trade frenzy to be completed is probably the
front office’s best option since teams that were unable to upgrade
their backcourt could then circle back for Simmons.
All told, it may take some time to find
the right offer, but it would be a surprise if Simmons opens next
season on the Sixers roster.