The 76ers Need to Lower Expectations in Ben Simmons Trade Talks
The Philadelphia 76ers are still trying to find a trade partner for a Ben Simmons deal, and are struggling. Rumors this week suggest the Sixers are in talks with the Sacramento Kings about a potential move, but Philly has no interest in taking back De'Aaron Fox in a swap. This has gone on long enough, the 76ers need to massively lower their expectations for their return on Simmons.
As we discussed earlier in the week, the Sixers reportedly have a hard list of 25 players they would be willing to take back for Simmons. No one has met their demands yet. There's a reason for that. Simmons is largely viewed as a declining asset around the league despite being only 25 years old. He's also incredibly expensive and is signed through the 2024-25 season after signing a five-year, $177 million max deal that started in 2020.
Simmons is an incredible defensive player, but he's a liability on offense at times, especially to close games. He can't shoot or space the floor, only hit 61.3 percent of his free throws last season and hit a career-low in PER (18.38). He simply doesn't fit modern basketball at the point guard position and the fact that he's 6-foot-11 and runs the point is his biggest selling point. He's far too expensive to be a liability on one end of the floor.
Simmons hasn't played all season, further diminishing his value. As a result, the Sixers are almost certain to have to take back a bad contract as part of any trade. If Philadelphia doesn't want Fox, what do they want from the Kings? Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield? Given the Sixers' insistence on receiving top players in return for Simmons, that doesn't make sense. And if they think Sacramento would be willing to move Tyrese Haliburton, someone should check just what the front office in Philly is smoking.
Along with Simmons, the Sixers would like to move the two years and almost $80 million left on Tobias Harris' contract after this season, plus the remainder of the $36 million his making this year. The Kings are said to be receptive to that. If that's the case and the 76ers could clear Harris and Simmons' huge contracts off its books, who cares what the Kings are willing to give up? Take it and run.
I realize it's hard to part with a 25-year-old former No. 1 overall pick and All-Star for what feels like pennies on the dollar. But that's the situation the 76ers find themselves in. Simmons isn't as valuable as he was two years ago. Times change. A very public playoff meltdown, his lack of shooting development and a horrid attitude has turned the rest of the NBA off.
Philadelphia needs to make a move as soon as possible to end the uncertainty about the franchise's future. Move Simmons for whatever you can get and sort things out later. If you get assets you don't really want or need in return (like, say, De'Aaron Fox), attempt to flip them elsewhere. This longer this goes on, the less value Simmons will have and the worse it will be for the organization.