It doesn’t sound like the 76ers are any closer to finding a trade for Ben Simmons, but it does sound like they’re interested in more players than just Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal in a potential deal.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, there are “approximately 30 players who would satisfy the Sixers in a Simmons swap.” Not only that, but there’s said to be an “internal belief” that a fair amount of those players could become available at some point over the next couple of years.
“This is like a multi-year thing,” a 76ers source told Amick.
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To no surprise, Lillard is said to be “near the top” of Philadelphia’s list. Beal, who has a player option in his contract for the 2022-23 season, is also said to be high on it. Amick mentions James Harden as well, who has a history with 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and, after not signing an extension with the Nets before the season, could join the 76ers by way of a sign-and-trade in the offseason.
Simmons has yet to play a game this season. Last month, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that he expressed a desire to play but isn’t prepared mentally.
“This is no longer about a trade,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, who represents Simmons, said in an interview with Charania. “This is about finding a place where we can help Ben get back to his mental strength and get back on the floor. I want him on the floor playing the game that he loves. I want Ben on the floor whether that’s in a 76ers uniform or any other uniform, that’s not up to me, but I want him in a state where he can resume play. We want to cooperate and want to work him back on the floor.”
Amick, however, reported that a source with knowledge of talks between the two sides indicated that Simmons recently “reiterated his strong desire to be traded.”
The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons has career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. In addition to three All-Star selections, he has one All-NBA Third Team selection and two All-Defensive First Team selections to his name.
Having signed an extension in 2019, Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 season.
The 76ers started the season out strong despite not having Simmons but now sit at 8-7 after losing five straight games. Tobias Harris recently returned, but both Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle remain out after having to enter the league’s health and safety protocols.
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