Ben Simmons is still on the Philadelphia 76ers. While the All-Star guard has yet to suit up for the team this season, Philly has remained steadfast in its stance that he will not be traded unless they are able to get back someone who helps maximize their chances of winning a championship during Joel Embiid’s prime.
It begs the question: Who, exactly, would the Sixers want back in a deal for Simmons? Plenty of names have been kicked around in the rumor mill, like Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal, but according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the team is willing to cast a somewhat wide net in an attempt to find a Simmons deal, and they have some optimism they’ll be able to make a move sometime in the future.
But here’s the part that may come as a surprise: A source with knowledge of the list said there are approximately 30 players who would satisfy the Sixers in a Simmons swap, and there’s an internal belief that a fair amount of them — let’s say five to 10 — could become available in the next year or two. And while it might sound like a long list, consider this much: It’s approximately six percent of the league and the rough equivalent to the number of All-Stars selected every season. The framing of the timeline, more than anything else, speaks volumes about the long-term approach the Sixers insist they’re taking.
The most recent trade rumor involving Simmons revolved around conversations that reportedly happened between the Sixers and the Boston Celtics, but Philly’s insistence they got back Jaylen Brown apparently meant those talks did not get too far. Simmons has apparently told the team that he is not mentally in a place where he feels he can play, while his agent, Rich Paul, has alleged that some of the decisions the Sixers made with regards to fines they have levied towards Simmons have made things worse.