The Simmons’ Saga Continues

Updated: August 31, 2021
NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Minnesota Timberwolves

The Ben Simmons’ stock continues to plummet as Morey and the 76ers maintain their dedication to mishandling the situation. The newest report in the Simmons’ saga is that he formally does not want or intend to play for Philly and will not be reporting to training camp. Considering his representation and Klutch Sports’ reputation to play hard ball at the negotiation table, it’s fair to assume that if Morey decides to hold out and wait for the leaves of fall to change their colors in hopes that time may alter his value, that Simmons will opt to take the fine and never touch the floor in Philly.

The layers of dominos that are stacking in the scenario continue to thicken the complexities of the situation that all began in the postgame interviews of Embiid and Doc Rivers publicly throwing Ben under the Bus after the botched shadow dunk that ended their playoff push. It was followed up by Daryl Morey making a mockery of the trade block with several public proposals which appeared to mistake Simmons’ value with a prime Michael Jordan. One of these trades was with the Warriors and the ask of their two lottery picks, two future firsts, Wiggins, and Wisemen. If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, Philly had the audacity to ask Toronto for Lowry, VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the rights the 4th pick in the draft that resulted in Scottie Barnes. 

The second time around the block there appeared to be no serious traction in trade discussions as Morey has become fixated on the All-NBA talents of either A.) Dame Lillard, or B.) Brad Beal…neither who are currently available. And that brings us to the now, where the situation has solidified itself with the announcement of Ben not willing to attend training camp and his intention to never wear a 76ers uniform again. The asset known as Ben Simmons is now not plummeting due to public perception of his on-court value but is now being dictated by the fact that Philly has zero leverage left. 

Golden State, Minnesota, and Sacramento have no reason to rush into a deal that complies with the level of urgency that is now pressing against the arteries of this Philly franchise. The Warriors would love to take a 2-month rental on their new lottery picks and last year’s 2nd pick in the draft before deciding to stand pat or sell on their new young core. They would even enjoy it more so if they could wait till a few weeks in January and see the health status of sniper Klay Thompson. Minnesota might be thirsty for Ben Simmons, but with their current roster, they are aware they are no contender in this loaded West. With each day, the likelihood that #1 pick Anthony Edwards’ name would be included in a Simmons’ trade decreases. 

But there is still belief in Ben’s abilities and the possible outcomes of what he may transform into if given the opportunity to spread his wings in a system that does not orbit around a traditional big. There have been rumors that Sacramento has offered the steal of last year’s draft Tyrese Haliburton, sniper Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III. However, Morey and his fixation with star power have made it known that any Sacramento trade that doesn’t include recently maxed point guard De’Aaron Fox is a no-go. Yet, one could argue that both Haliburton and Hield are better fits around Joel Embiid, and Bagley as a backup big if healthy would be more than ideal. Both Tyrese and Buddy are substantially better shooters than Fox aiding positive spacing for Joel to operate inside. However, neither of them have the current future all-star label that Fox has now received due to his 25 points per in last season. 

Morey is operating under the assumption that a trade of this caliber will be available any day of the week, whether it’s on September 1st, or October 22nd. But what if Haliburton comes out of the gates scorching hot and hitting north of 43% from behind the arc and is averaging 17 and 8? All of a sudden Sacramento starts to sour on the idea of letting go of this cheap and productive piece and the Haliburton/Hield offer transforms into the Bagley/Hield + picks package. What if James Wisemen in a backup role looks like a competent big with flashes of mystique and weekly highlights which defy his 7’1 frame? 

The point is Morey is playing with fire and doesn’t appear to have gauged the room and the current temperature of the fever he is feeding into. Waiting on the Wizards who may not even want a Simmons package or Lillard who most likely will require a package bigger than the Harden Houston trade could prove to be suicidal for the Sixers’ season. One thing is certain though, Daryl’s legacy as some sort of analytic genius will be forever tainted if these offseason facades result in last year’s 1st seed in the East slipping down to a tier 2 franchise in the midst of Joel’s prime.

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