The Ben Simmons trade talk apparently does have weight, and isn’t simply rumor-driven.
Simmons was discussed as a potential trade candidate last offseason, with the Sixers making major changes at both coach and president. But the team opted to give the Simmons-Joel Embiid marriage at least one more season.
The results were interesting, as Embiid, when healthy, played at an MVP level. At times, he looked like the best player in the NBA.
As for Simmons, well, he was great on the defensive end, but looked downright awful on the offensive end. His struggles and lack of confidence hurt the team, especially in their Game 7 loss to the Hawks. He averaged only 14.3 points per game on the season, and his inability to score put a ton of pressure on Embiid and Tobias Harris.
His struggles didn’t go unnoticed, either. The trade talk began popping up in the playoffs, and apparently hasn’t gone away. Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, reportedly already discussed a potential trade with the Sixers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The report reads:
Paul engaged the Sixers on whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the sides are expected to continue talking ahead of the July 29 NBA draft and August free agency, sources said. The 76ers are committed to keeping Simmons as a central piece of their franchise, sources said.
The 24-year-old still has four years remaining on his contract, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Sixers move Simmons to get off that deal.