Shams Charania of The Athletic recently dropped a bombshell about Ben Simmons and his situation with the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Charania, Simmons’ marriage with the Sixers is good as over, with “all signs” suggesting that the hybrid point guard is going to be somewhere else sooner than later.
Okay, maybe that’s no longer surprising, considering how many times this offseason we have heard of rumors about Simmons getting traded. But it’s been over a month since the Milwaukee Bucks sent the NBA to its 2021 NBA season by defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games in the Finals, and as of this writing, Simmons is still under the control of the Sixers. That doesn’t mean the Sixers’ front office phones aren’t ringing though. There has been persistent interest in Simmons from other teams — as it should, as he is still one of the best young talents in the NBA. General managers across the league should at least kick the tires on the potential of acquiring Simmons, which is apparently a move the Toronto Raptors have reportedly made.
“The 76ers opened up trade conversations around Simmons, the three-time All-Star, in July, but so far their conversations have not reached the cusp of a deal. Philadelphia has conducted expansive discussions with several teams, including Minnesota and Toronto, but neither a Timberwolves package nor the Raptors’ proposals have appealed to the 76ers as of yet. Philadelphia has set a high price threshold for teams to meet in talks for Simmons thus far.”
Wanting to get Simmons is one thing for Toronto. Pleasing the Sixers with a trade offer for him is an entirely different ball game. The Raptors have lost Kyle Lowry, who would have been an ideal centerpiece for a Toronto package. With Lowry out of the picture, the Raptors’ top candidates for the lead asset in a Simmons deal are Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.
Philadelphia had laid out an asking price for Simmons that includes Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the fourth overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, which Toronto, of course, declined. If that’s a sample exchange rate the Sixers have in mind, it’s hard to imagine the Raptors ever coming up with a tasty — and fair — offer that would satisfy Daryl Morey.
Despite the inauspicious way Simmons ended the 2020-21 NBA season with the Sixers and the loud criticisms that followed, the truth of the matter is that he is still a tantalizing NBA talent. At the same time, no one really knows for sure what the heck the Sixers are supposed to do with him.