Let’s sum up the status of a Ben Simmons trade in one line:
Settle in and make yourself comfortable, this could take a while.
The 76ers want to trade him, but they are still waiting for that All-Star and more in return offer.
And they may be waiting a while, like into next season a while. Simmons starting next season in Philadelphia is both incredibly awkward and possible. League sources told NBC Sports that Sixers GM Daryl Morey is acting like a man who understands he needs to be patient, that this is his big swing at re-shaping the roster around Joel Embiid and he’s not reacting like a man about to be pressured into a deal he doesn’t like. It doesn’t matter whether Simmons is talking to the 76ers or not, or who he is working out with this offseason, Morey will not be pressured.
Who are the frontrunners to trade for Simmons at this point? From Sam Amick of The Athletic.
One source close to the situation handicapped Miami, Toronto and Washington as the most likely landing spots.
Morey is wisely waiting out Bradley Beal to see if he wants to remain with the Wizards. (Philly also would be interested in Damian Lillard, but he is chasing gold in Tokyo and wants to give Portland a chance, meaning that decision is farther down the road.)
However, there is a growing sense from some around the league we have seen this movie before with Beal: He’s frustrated, he wants more from Washington, rumors fly, but he ultimately can’t leave them. As Jake Fischer put it at Bleacher Report:
“By all accounts, Bradley Beal is still weighing his future with the Washington Wizards two days before the draft, yet there’s a growing expectation among league personnel that the All-Star guard may still choose to remain with the Wizards for now. Winning, and winning in the nation’s capital, has long been communicated as Beal’s top priority.”
If Beal pushes his way off of the Wizards, the 76ers would be considered the strong frontrunner to land him. Philly’s trade package would jumpstart a Washington rebuild, a deal based around the 24-year-old Simmons, plus other young players (Tyrese Maxey?) and picks.
Toronto’s offer could be either a sign-and-trade that brings Kyle Lowry back home to Philadelphia, or a package based around Pascal Siakam, who is available but is not really the player the 76ers are looking for. Miami would have quality young shooters such as Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro and a lot of picks to offer, but that is not the win-now kind of move Morey and Philadelphia are seeking.
For now it looks like Morey is a man willing to be patient — unlike the legions of NBA fans looking for big moves around the NBA Draft.
Settle in, this could take a while.