The latest on the Ben Simmons saga…
Is that there is nothing new in the Ben Simmons saga.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania updated the Simmons situation on Friday. Most of his video rehashed where things have stood for weeks: Both sides have dug in, Simmons has cleaned out his house in Philadelphia and doesn’t want to return, and the 76ers continue to ask for a massive package in return that no team has come close to matching.
The one drop of new information came near the end of the video, on a proposed trade package with Portland that included three first-round picks and three pick swaps, which the Trail Blazers rejected.
Latest on Ben Simmons and the 76ers: pic.twitter.com/PWuRV9eyV8
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 8, 2021
First, while Charania isn’t clear on this point, that offer almost certainly had to involve CJ McCollum plus the three picks and swaps (and possibly another player from Portland). It’s obvious why Portland rejected that trade.
Everyone loves to put McCollum in Simmons (and other trades), but people vastly overestimate Blazer GM Neil Olshey’s willingness to move McCollum in any deal. McCollum is the player Olshey found out of a small school (Lehigh) who was a risk to take in the lottery and became a star, Olshey has an attachment to McCollum as his guy and he will not just casually throw him in a trade; he values McCollum higher than others do.
Of course, Sixers’ GM Daryl Morey’s dream scenario is a disgruntled Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal forcing their way to Philadelphia, but neither of those players is pushing for a trade right now and may not in the future. Sam Amick of The Athletic put it this way:
“You’re waiting on a prayer,” the source said of the Lillard scenario.
The Pacers are a team that comes up a lot in Simmons’ trade speculation in recent weeks, in part because it’s relatively easy to construct a trade with that roster — a lot of good players making between $10 million and $20 million. A trade of Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren would match up salary-wise, as would Caris LeVert and Warren, or a number of other combinations (we can assume the 76ers don’t want big men Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner in a trade because they have Joel Embiid, unless it’s a three-team trade with the Indy bigs moving on to another team).
However, as Charania said, there is no real traction with a Pacers trade right now. Sources have told NBC Sports there is no real traction anywhere for a Simmons trade right now; teams are happy with their rosters in training camp and moving into the season. At best, this will be more like a James Harden situation where he was traded to Brooklyn a little more than a month into the season — and at least he showed up to training camp and played in games.
The Simmons saga could drag out much longer than that.