“Discussions on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons’ future with the franchise started in Chicago this week and included Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and Sixers management, sources told ESPN,” wrote Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Paul met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons’ Sixers career, sources said.
“Paul engaged the Sixers on whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the sides are expected to continue talking ahead of the July 29 NBA draft and August free agency, sources said. The 76ers are committed to keeping Simmons as a central piece of their franchise, sources said.”
Simmons is coming off of an extremely difficult performance in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. He averaged just 11.9 points per game and struggled mightily on free throws, shooting a miserable 34.2 percent from the charity stripe.
According to the report, teams around the NBA are already testing the waters on a potential deal for Simmons. However, the Sixers seem hesitant to abandon the duo of Simmons and Joel Embiid at the moment.
“Teams have been using the Chicago pre-draft camp to gauge the Sixers’ interest in trade packages, sources said, although Philadelphia remains reluctant to break up the tandem of Joel Embiid and Simmons without maximizing a return and exhausting all possibilities to improve Simmons’ offense, sources said,” Wojnarowski continued.
Speculation is that Simmons’ trade value is still high, although it has been reported that several NBA executives think less of him as a player than they did before the playoffs started.
It would make sense if the 76ers were reluctant to sell low on the former top draft pick, but the organization’s options are limited.
Simmons has a lot of growing to do if he wants to re-establish himself as a star-quality player in this league.