Those wondering about just how viable Ben Simmons is to the Philadelphia 76ers’ future just received a resounding answer on Tuesday morning.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “has been surveying the landscape for ways to improve their roster.” That includes opening up trade talks involving Simmons with conversations having already begun.
It isn’t that shocking of a development when you consider Simmons was included in potential trade talks with the Houston Rockets that would have brought James Harden to Philadelphia rather than Brooklyn. He was also singled out by Joel Embiid during the Sixers’ disappointing second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The inability to co-exist with Embiid — who is the clear-cut centerpiece of the franchise — has also likely played a part in Morey heading to market with Simmons. While the three-time All-Star is one of the best defenders in the game, his offensive development has been underwhelming and hasn’t done enough to complement Embiid and the likes of Tobias Harris.
Per Charania, the return that the Sixers are looking for has been set at a “high price threshold” including “an All-Star-caliber player in return.”
Such a price is an understandable one. After all, Simmons is still just 25 years old and his sputtering offensive game could be seen as reclaimable — thus making him one of the top two-way players in the entire league.
Despite garnering a third-straight All-Star appearance this season and finishing in the running for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Simmons averaged a career-low 14.3 points per game with 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists.
His three-point game remains a non-factor as he attempted just 10 all season, hitting three of them.