First off, I want to apologize. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
We were supposed to be done with the Ben Simmons rumors. Trade rumors swirled, he was lightly linked to the Golden State Warriors, I wrote way too many words telling you why the Warriors should be all in, you threw tomatoes at me, and the whole thing slowly dissipated.
Well hey, it’s kind of back.
With the bulk of the NBA’s offseason moves behind us, all momentum with a Simmons trade — to the Warriors or to anywhere — had evaporated. Yet there he still stood, waiting for his fifth season, clearly hoping it would come outside of Pennsylvania. And there the Sixers stood, consistently asking for way too much, presumably because they were willing to enter the season with him still on the roster.
But things changed.
According to a report from Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons has informed the organization that he does not wish to be a part of their future, and that he will not report to training camp. This will surely drop his leverage a fair amount, but then again, Daryl Morey and the Sixers have kind of shot themselves in the foot here.
Here’s a snippet of Pompey’s report:
The organization does not want to trade Simmons for less than what it believes is fair market value. The four told Simmons they wanted him to report to the start of training camp on Sept. 28 and be a part of the team.
The source said, however, the Sixers’ inability to get fair market value isn’t Simmons’ fault.
Another source said there’s no shortage of teams still interested, but the problem is Morey is demanding a king’s ransom.
Simmons is fully aware the Sixers can fine him for holding out and failing to show up to training camp. But a source said money will not play a role in the decision-making for Simmons, who has four years and $147 million remaining on his deal.
Pompey quotes an anonymous Western Conference executive as saying that Simmons “wants to go to three California teams,” which, with all due respect to the Sacramento Kings, likely means that he has his eyes set on the Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers.
Of those three, the Warriors can easily come forth with the best package. They’re the only team with an easy way of matching salary, thanks to Andrew Wiggins’ max contract, and they have three lottery picks from the last two years — James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody. That’s three more than the Lakers and Clippers combined.
That doesn’t mean all that much, though. The Sixers are under no obligation or even pressure to send Simmons to a preferred destination, especially given the four years left on his contract. And just because the Warriors can best other teams in the offers department, doesn’t mean they will. Furthermore, the Warriors package would be centered more on future assets, while the Sixers, who held the top seed in the East last season, are likely searching for wins now.
In all likelihood, things will get messier before they get cleaner, Golden State will never be serious suitors, and Simmons will be wearing a jersey that says neither “76ers” nor “Warriors” the next time he plays in an NBA game.
Until then, prepare yourself for rumors and whispers.
And once again, I’m sorry.