Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons: How free agency impacts potential trade destinations for the Philadelphia 76ers star

It's no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers are exploring trades for Ben Simmons.

Back on July 13, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the 76ers had "opened up" trade conversations with other teams surrounding the three-time All-Star. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported a few weeks later that the 76ers "continue to canvas the league" for Simmons trades.

Philadelphia's asking price for Simmons is said to be steep. According to The Athletic's David Aldridge, the 76ers are looking for four future first-round picks and an All-Star-level in most scenarios.

Which teams are in a position to offer that? Now that free agency has settled, let's take a look at what the market looks like for Simmons again.

Portland Trail Blazers

As I wrote following Charania's initial report that the 76ers were ready to talk to teams about Simmons, there are a couple of directions a trade with the Trail Blazers could go.

The first would be for a package built around CJ McCollum. While he's never been an All-Star, McCollum has developed into one of the league's better scorers with an average of 21.8 points on .456/.398/.837 shooting splits over the last six seasons. He has the potential to tick some of the boxes the 76ers are looking for. The second would be to wait and see how the situation plays out with Damian Lillard, who 76ers president Daryl Morey reportedly "longs" for.

Whether or not Lillard will request a trade from the Trail Blazers has been the talk of the offseason so far. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop reported on July 16 that he was going to request a trade "in the days to come," but Lillard has since said that was "not true."

What Lillard has made clear is the Blazers "must do better" and the franchise wasn't able to get some of the players they were hoping for in free agency.

"When you go into free agency and things like this, you never know what happens," Lillard said during the Tokyo Olympics. "You never know where guys are going to end up and why they go there. You just try to have conversations and convince guys to be a part of our team.

"And obviously, this go around, we wasn't able to go out there and just get some of the guys that we would have liked, and you go down the list and you go through the guys that are out there that you like who haven't committed to a team or was a part of your plans in free agency and you get the ones that want to be a part of what you're doing. And I think that's what we did."

It's safe to assume the 76ers will be keeping a close eye on Lillard's situation.

Draft picks: The Blazers control their first-round picks between 2022 and 2028.

Toronto Raptors

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported on July 27 that talks between the Raptors and 76ers were "considered to be the most advanced of any early conversations" Philadelphia had had for Simmons.

The problem? With Kyle Lowry signing with the Miami Heat, one of the players the 76ers were reportedly interested in on the Raptors is no longer an option.

The Raptors still have the assets to put together an appealing package for a star like Simmons - lots of teams would likely be interested in Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby if they were made available, and the Raptors selected one of the best prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft with the No. 4 pick in Scottie Barnes - but would the 76ers be interested in a deal that wasn't headlined by Lowry?

According to a report from Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Raptors rejected a "proposed framework" including Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby and the No. 4 pick ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft.

Draft picks: The Raptors control their first-round picks between 2022 and 2028.

Washington Wizards

Few teams have changed as much as Washington has this offseason.

One, the Wizards selected Corey Kispert with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Two, they traded Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson, the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Three, they signed Spencer Dinwiddie to a reported three-year, $62 million contract in free agency.

Is that enough to keep Bradley Beal happy?

Beal has a $37.3 million player option in his contract for the 2022-23 season, giving him the option of testing free agency following next season. (Beal will be eligible for a - wait for it - five-year, $235 million deal if he turns down that player option to re-sign with the Wizards). Like Lillard, there's been some chatter of Beal mulling over his future with the Wizards, but The Athletic's Shams Charania recently reported that he has "no desire to leave the Wizards."

Even so, it's another situation the 76ers will likely have a close eye on.

Draft picks: The Wizards owe a protected first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, starting in 2023.

Golden State Warriors

Another team that has been linked to Simmons throughout this process.

The Warriors are unlikely to give up one of their three stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in a trade, but they could still put together an appealing package themselves. Andrew Wiggins would help them match the salary of a star like Simmons and they have three prospects who would likely be of interest to teams in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

However, Wiseman plays the same position as Joel Embiid - the 76ers also signed Andre Drummond this offseason to be Embiid's backup - and while Moody was regarded as one of the more NBA-ready prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft, Kuminga is seen more as a project. Given where Embiid is at in his career, it wouldn't be a surprise if the 76ers were looking for players who can help them win now, hence their reported interest in Lillard and Beal.

According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers asked for Wiggins, Wiseman, the Nos. 7 and 14 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, and two future first-round picks in exchange for Simmons. Pompey adds that the Warriors "quickly turned down the offer."

Draft picks: The Warriors owe a protected first-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies, starting in 2024.

Honourable mention

Chicago Bulls - The Bulls have been one of the more aggressive teams in free agency, adding not only Lonzo Ball, but four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan. They're still probably only an option if they'd be willing to give up LaVine for Simmons.

Sacramento Kings - According to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, the Kings have shown interest in both Simmons and Pascal Siakam. The Kings have some players on their roster who could be of interest to the 76ers, such as De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton.

Minnesota Timberwolves - Not much has changed with the Timberwolves. It's been reported that they're interested in him and a deal built around D'Angelo Russell remains a possibility.

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