Ben Simmons going to Philadelphia 76ers training camp would be… awkward. To say the least.
Simmons doesn’t want it, he wants to be traded this offseason, to the Warriors if possible. To make his point, Simmons reportedly isn’t speaking to 76er players or the organization, with everything going through his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Simmons showing up for camp is far from the ideal situation for the 76ers either. They want to make a deal, but GM Daryl Morey is waiting on a big score, a James Harden-level trade, and so far nothing near that has come available. As reported before, sources have told NBC Sports it’s very possible Simmons is in Sixers training camp, and it could last longer than that.
Here’s a report from Jake Fischer at Bleacher Report saying the same thing.
…the overwhelming sense among league insiders continues to be that Simmons, for now, is expected to remain a Sixer once training camp opens on September 28—barring a change of temperature with Damian Lillard in Portland…
For the Sixers and president Daryl Morey to move Simmons, it will be with an eye toward maximizing the prime of Joel Embiid, who signed a $196 million, 4-year extension Monday night. Therefore trading Simmons now for anything short of a haul that could immediately be flipped for Lillard, in the event he does request a trade, would be a devastating blow for Philadelphia’s front office, and their efforts to pair Embiid with a bonafide superstar.
Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are the two players Philadelphia is clearly most interested in, but whether either one of them becomes available this season is up for debate. Beal seems comfortable after the Russell Westbrook trade and the Wizards are hopeful he will stick around. The buzz around the league on Lillard is what Fischer echoes, that he will start the season in Portland and give new coach Chauncey Billups a chance, maybe ask for a trade before the deadline if things start slowly for the Blazers, but a deal is more likely next offseason.
Philly isn’t going to wait that long.
At some point, Morey’s asking price in a Simmons trade has to come down. He should be willing to lose a little overall talent for a better fit around Joel Embiid — but not a lot of talent. Winning a title now with the newly-paid Embiid has to be the priority.
All of which means Simmons in 76ers camp could be a real thing.