January 31, 2022
At one point, it probably seemed like Ben Simmons playing elsewhere this season — especially once the February 10 NBA trade deadline passed — was a foregone conclusion. Not so fast.
Here we sit just over 10 days out from the deadline, and the optimism has all but dried up. Teams like the Kings are dropping out of the discussions, and the Nets have said they won't even entertain any deadline offers for James Harden, considered by many to be the real prize that Daryl Morey is after. Meanwhile, Morey and Co. have held firm that they want All-Star talent returning, and reportedly have a list of 30 or so players they'd be interested in acquiring.
After recent reports said the Kings, who lost at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday Night, are out on Simmons, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski gave an update of which teams might still be interested in trading for the Sixers guard. Here's more from Justin Grasso of SI.com:
Outside of the Sacramento Kings, who reportedly exited trade talks with the Sixers recently, it's unclear which Simmons suitors still exist. ESPN's NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned there are teams interested, but not a lot are willing to even engage in talks with Daryl Morey and Philly's front office right now.
"I think there are teams like Atlanta, they have certainly interest in him there," said Wojnarowski. "There are a number of others. Minnesota has interest, but is there a pathway to a deal? I think that's the hard part for the Sixers right now is how far are they going to have to lower their asking price to get a deal done at the deadline."
The market isn't dry for Ben Simmons. The price is just too steep for teams' desires. It seems the Timberwolves, Hawks, and potentially others will remain in the conversation up until the deadline in hopes that something changes, but nobody should be holding their breath. [si.com]
The problem is that none of the other teams with assets that interest the Sixers seem to be willing to move those pieces. And given the version of Simmons we all saw last — in that Game 7 loss to Atlanta — it's hard to blame them. One of the main issues for Morey in trying to get value back for Simmons has and always will be that performance, and the fact that he's refused to return to the team, not only as an act of good faith, but as a way for him to demonstrate his value again during the time of the season he always seems to play his best — the part before the All-Star break.
Instead, Simmons has remained out, and the Sixers have continued to find a way to remain in contention despite a massive, Ben Simmons-sized hole in their roster. They've been able to do that because of the MVP-level play they've been getting out of Joel Embiid, a guy so good he might not need the reinforcements he deserves to have this team playing deep into the postseason.
Wasting a year of Embiid's prime by not getting an impact player back at the deadline seems like the crime of the century, but what would be worse is making the wrong deal and ruining the next three or four years by rushing to get a trade done in the next 10 days.
Beyond that, could Morey have any other moves on the margins planned to help improve his team in other areas? What about Tobias Harris, who has struggled this season and has now seen his name pop up in trade rumors as a potential added piece in a Ben Simmons deal. And what about the rest of the roster? Is anyone besides Joel Embiid untouchable?
To that end, we'll have you covered with live updates each day leading up to next Thursday's trade deadline — plus analysis of all the latest relevant rumors from Sixers writer Kyle Neubeck. Stay tuned for the latest...
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