The drama continues.
On Aug. 31, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Ben Simmons has let the Philadelphia 76ers know he wants to be somewhere else.
Not only that, but Pompey reported that Simmons doesn't intend on reporting to training camp.
Ben Simmons tells #Sixers brass he no longer wants to be a Sixer and does not intend to report to training camp, according to multiple sources. https://t.co/17X1XfkzZO via @phillyinquirer- Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) August 31, 2021
It's been known for a couple of months now that the 76ers have been canvassing the league for Simmons trades, but Pompey's report kicks things into another gear by, one would assume, putting a little more pressure on the franchise to find him a new home before the start of the 2021-22 season.
With less than two months remaining before the NBA's 75th anniversary season gets underway, that raises a few questions.
MORE: Can Simmons and Joel Embiid make it work?
What would Ben Simmons bring to a team?
I've already written quite a bit on this - click here if you're interested - but the good: Simmons is a monster in transition, a tremendous passer, arguably the league's most valuable defender when you consider how versatile and disruptive he is on that end of the court, and has untapped potential as both a roller and cutter. The bad is he struggles to create for himself in the halfcourt because he isn't a threat to score outside of the paint, which is problematic in today's NBA.
It doesn't help that Simmons isn't an efficient shooter from the free throw line. For his career, he's at 59.7 percent in the regular season and 52.0 percent in the playoffs from the charity stripe.
Those limitations haven't been as big of an issue in the regular season - this is your reminder that Simmons is a three-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA Third Team selection - but it's a part of his game teams have picked on in the playoffs. Simmons had a particularly rough ending to Philadelphia's second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, averaging 6.3 points on 4.7 field goal attempts in Games 5, 6 and 7. That lasting image of him from that series is of him passing up an open layup down the stretch of Game 7.
Simmons only recently turned 25 years old, so there's hope he will continue to expand his game. Also, he's under team control through the 2024-25 season.
What would it take to acquire Ben Simmons?
That's the $170.1 million question.
Pompey reported that there is "no shortage" of teams interested in Simmons but 76ers president basketball of operations Daryl Morey is demanding a "king's ransom." The Athletic's David Aldridge gave some insight into what the 76ers could be looking for following the 2021 NBA Draft, reporting that they're seeking a minimum of four future first-round picks and "an All-Star-level player in most (but not all) scenarios" in return for Simmons.
One player in particular the 76ers are said to have their eyes on: Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
There was a report earlier in the offseason that Lillard was gearing up to make a trade request, but the latest from Shams Charania of The Athletic is that the six-time All-Star is "slated to begin training camp with the organization" while he continues to evaluate the franchise's present and future.
"In some ways, the 76ers are stuck between deciding whether to make a move now with Simmons - or waiting until a star like Lillard shakes free," Charania wrote.
To get an idea of what a non-Lillard trade for Simmons could look like, click here for some potential trade packages.
Where could Ben Simmons end up?
The Trail Blazers have been linked to Simmons a number of times throughout this process. It's no wonder why the 76ers would be interested in Lillard - he and Joel Embiid would form one of the league's best one-two punches and give them a shot at competing in the Eastern Conference with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets - but Portland could also build an interesting package around CJ McCollum, who is one of the league's better shooting guards.
In addition to the Trail Blazers, Charania reported that the 76ers have "conducted expansive discussions with several teams," including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors. However, neither team has reportedly made an offer that has appealed the 76ers yet.
A few other teams that have been linked to Simmons in some way, shape or form over the last couple of months: Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.
As of Sept. 1, SportsLine gives the Timberwolves (+300) the best odds of landing Simmons if he is traded, followed by the Kings (+400), Trail Blazers (+700), Warriors (+700) and Spurs (+1000).
|Portland Trail Blazers||+700|
|Golden State Warriors||+700|
|San Antonio Spurs||+1000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+1500|
Where would be the best situation for Ben Simmons?
It's hard to say without knowing exactly how much each team would have to give up to acquire Simmons, but Minnesota would be a fascinating spot for him.
First and foremost, the Timberwolves have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA over the last few seasons. Simmons alone might not be enough for them to be an elite defensive team, but he would solve a lot of their issues on that end of the court by giving them a versatile defender who can match up with the opposing team's best player. Offensively, Karl-Anthony Towns might be the ideal center to pair with Simmons because of how good of a 3-point shooter he is.
It's hard to imagine the Timberwolves getting Simmons without giving up one of D'Angelo Russell or Anthony Edwards - Edwards is said to be untouchable, for what it's worth - but a trio of Simmons, Towns and one of them would be rather dynamic.
Other than the Timberwolves, it's fun to think of Simmons playing off of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in Golden State. Simmons and Green would make for a devastating duo defensively, and while spacing would be shaky with the two of them on the court at the same time, playing next to Curry could unlock Simmons' potential as a roller and cutter. Lillard could do the same, but him and Simmons being teammates would hinge on Philadelphia having interest in McCollum.
Toronto deserves mention as well, if only because the Raptors are known for their development staff and clearly have a thing for rangy wings who can defend multiple positions.
There hasn't been as much chatter about which teams are on Simmons' list, but one Western Conference executive told Pompey that he "wants to go to three California teams." If true, it would appear as though Simmons is only interested in joining three of the Warriors, Clippers, Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.
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