The Offseason is Upon Us | Ben is Officially on the Block

Updated: July 13, 2021
Philadelphia 76ers v Phoenix Suns

The posturing over the 76ers keeping Simmons in Philly has finally ended. Morey and the Philadelphia front office have officially put him on the trade block and are taking offers. With the reports of so many teams interested, the question is of what player they’re looking to trade for? Is it the blue-chip asset that was meant to be the centerpiece in a James Harden trade, or a diminished asset that the vultures are looking to swoop in on the cheap?

Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento, and Toronto are all teams currently in discussion with the 76ers’ front office over an exchange that sends the 6”10 defensive monster their way. It is a tricky trade to arrange for Philly as they are in a title or bust mentality and are not looking for the collection of draft capital and young assets that are usually given for an All-NBA level talent. Instead, Philly has made it clear that they are looking for “an All-Star caliber player in return.”

On paper, the logic is sound. I have placed my All-NBA level talent on the block and need at least an All-Star in return…the elephant in the room, is All-NBA players don’t get scraped off the floor in a do-or-die playoff game in the final minutes of a series. They also tend to want the ball in the 4th quarter of a game, which Simmons’ zero attempts in the final 4 games against the Hawks implies that he doesn’t.

Another interesting cavoite in the report is the word caliber, as there isn’t an All-Star Caliber player on most of these rosters. Sacramento will act as if De’Aaron Fox is a perennial all-star due to his 25 per last season, but the only thing that screams perennial All-Star is Fox’s max extension. Indiana has Sabonis who’s only elite trait is rolling towards the rim right into the place where Embiid should be living. Minnesota has DLO to offer, who once made an All-Star team in a wounded East, but it would be hard-pressed to find anyone left in the league who still would call him an All-Star caliber player. And the Cavaliers only player that has and ever will make an All-Star game is currently in buyout talks and way past his prime. Toronto is the only franchise who has what Morey claims to want, however, it is likely that Fox or DLO might actually be the market.

One variable that is not being put into the equation, is the restricted free-agency of John Collins out in Atlanta. As good as he’s played, it is doubtful that the Hawks want to max him out at 28 million per year. He simply is not a max player, and yet has all the leverage this offseason to get near that number. Although 28 is quite a large price tag to pay, it is substantially smaller than the 33 owed to Ben, or the 40 million he is owed in the final year of his contract in 2025.

Collins and Simmons’ games are polar opposites of one another, yet due to their value and availability, their exchanges and contracts may overlap. Simmons’ ceiling is presumed to be 10 stories higher than John’s and yet their current floor in a playoff series, the notch has to go the guy who can stay on the floor and score. The argument that may be happening in front offices over the two is not which one would they rather have, it’s if the price and the assets necessary to acquire Simmons worth the price tag? If the Hawks are unwilling to match the number Collins writes on his cocktail napkin at Magic City, it may indirectly shift the trade talks for Morey over Simmons…even if those teams have no real desire to acquire Collins.

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