Now, pretenses are dropping.
The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic. Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.
“(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,” one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said.
By all accounts, Embiid and Simmons have never been closer — off the court.
Philadelphia should seek an All-Star-caliber player in return. Simmons is an All-Star.
But, unless surrendering other assets, the 76ers probably can’t have it all. They likely must exchange a talent downgrade for a fit upgrade.
Perhaps, Philadelphia can get a player who’s just as good as and fits better than Simmons – but is older than Simmons, who turned 25 in a week. But what team is trading that player for Simmons? Simmons is already in his prime. Though he certainly has room to improve, he plays a style that puts him already close to his projected ceiling. Simmons provides the most value to a win-now team… like the 76ers.
Except they might not desire keeping him anymore.
It’s nice Simmons and Joel Embiid are meshing better off the court, especially after Embiid called out Simmons when Philadelphia got eliminated by the Hawks in the second round. But Embiid and Simmons are far from an optimal fit on the court.
At this point, Simmons might welcome a trade.
Finding a deal is easier said than done. Even if teams value Simmons as highly as some anonymous sources want everyone to believe, there isn’t necessarily a great match. Three-team trades and sign-and-trades get complicated quickly.
But it’s easier to find a trade when actively looking, and it sounds like Philadelphia is taking that step.