Speculation has continued to swirl around Ben Simmons’ future with the Philadelphia 76ers after yet another disappointing exit from the postseason in which the All-Star point guard continued to struggle with his offensive side of the game.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added further fuel to the fire when reporting that discussions on Simmons’ future with the team have already begun this week in Chicago.
Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul met with 76ers PBO Daryl Morey and GM Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to put said talks in motion, including whether or not a trade this offseason would be the best course of action.
Multiple teams are interested in inquiring about a deal involving Simmons, per Wojnarowski.
While it’s something to watch for at the end of July and into August, when NBA free agency begins, Wojnarowski added that the 76ers “were committed to keeping Simmons as a central piece of their franchise.”
Morey himself gave Simmons a sizable vote of confidence on Tuesday when he was asked about Philadelphia’s core.
“We have a very strong group we believe in. None of us can predict the future of what’s going to happen in any place,” he said. “We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel brings, we love what Tobias [Harris] brings. In terms of what’s next, we’re going to do what’s best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster.”
Simmons has yet to live up to his sizable deal, which has four years and $147 million left on it. While he was up for defensive player of the year, his offensive game and free-throw shooting have continued to noticeably lag. That included 19 combined points in Games 5-7 of the Eastern Conference second round against the Atlanta Hawks. He also shot a heinous 34.2% from the free-throw line during the entire 2021 NBA Playoffs.
It obviously makes improving his shooting game a main aspect of his game to work on — whether it’s to keep him as a cornerstone of the franchise moving forward, or to further enhance any sort of potential trade value.