A Ben Simmons Trade Just Got a Lot Harder for the Philadelphia 76ers

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Seven
Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Seven / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Sacramento Kings have officially dropped out of the chase for Ben Simmons. One of the suitors who lined up best financially to make a deal is no longer interested. It's the latest sign that shows the Philadelphia 76ers are running out of options to move their All-Star point guard.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Kings believe the asking price for Simmons is far too high and that a pathway to an agreement simply doesn't exist.

The issue in this chase is the size of Simmons' contract. They Sixers would have to take back a similar-sized deal and few pacts that big are worth having. Simmons is due roughly $115 million over the next three seasons, plus whatever remains on the $33 million he's owed this season.

Interested parties include the Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and more. The issue is, matching contracts and the Sixers getting the kind of top-tier return they are looking for. The list of teams that can provide that is incredibly small and shrinking by the day.

The only path that currently makes sense is a much-discussed swap between Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Nets that would send James Harden to the Sixers. Such a move would make sense for both parties, but it would mean holding on to Simmons through the rest of the season.

The issue for the 76ers is that Simmons' value is diminishing the longer he goes without playing. He's also coming off a down season and his shooting woes have persisted. During the 2020-21 campaign he only hit three of the 10 3-pointers he attempted, only shot 61.3 percent from the free throw line and his PER dropped to a career-low 18.38.

Simmons is only 25 years old but if he can't shoot and can't be on the floor late in games because he can't hit free throws, is he really a top-tier NBA player? Philadelphia likely needs to recalibrate its expectations.