Who Are the 30 Players Daryl Morey and the Sixers Want in a Ben Simmons Trade?

Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Ben Simmons remains a Philadelphia 76er but has yet to step on the court this year as he and Rich Paul suggest mental health issues are the primary reason he is not ready to return to play. It is a tricky situation for team and player and even trickier to talk about from an outside perspective. So we won't do that.

What we will do is discuss Sam Amick's latest report from The Athletic on Simmons' current standing with the Sixers. Anonymous sources continue to hammer home that Daryl Morey is more than willing to sit tight and wait for the right deal to materialize, even if it takes years. Amick reports the Sixers have more than a few possible targets in mind that they believe are feasible goals.

In fact, they have a list of 30 players they want to try and acquire in exchange for Simmons, and think up to half of those players will be available sometime in the next calendar year.

As you may have heard by now, Portland’s Damian Lillard is not only on said list but somewhere near the top. Ditto for Brooklyn’s James Harden, the former Rocket with whom Morey tried unsuccessfully to reunite with in January and who, by the way, could come to Philly via sign-and-trade this summer if he decides to shock the basketball world and leave Kevin Durant behind. Also high on the list: Washington’s Bradley Beal. Those kinds of guys.

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.

Morey has made it clear he wants an All-Star talent for Simmons and all the leaks from the team indicate he stands firm in his belief that someone will rise to that price.

So what might this list consist of? It's actually a rather interesting thought exercise because the Sixers do not need a center, obviously. Let's see if we can take a gander at fleshing out some of the list, including the names Amick mentioned and excluding obvious untouchables like LeBron James or Stephen Curry.

Damian Lillard
James Harden
Bradley Beal
Jaylen Brown
Vaccinated Kyrie Irving
Donovan Mitchell
De'Aaron Fox
Paul George
Kawhi Leonard
Brandon Ingram
Jrue Holiday
Mike Conley
Khris Middleton
Domantas Sabonis
Zach LaVine

Okay. So that's 15 names. Out of those 15 names, less than 10 are realistic. Once you get past those names, it's hard to find any real candidates that fit Morey's criteria of All-Star talent ready to contribute to a championship. Guys like Buddy Hield or Malcolm Brogdon would be invaluable to this Sixers team but the rumor mill suggests Morey is aiming higher.

So how high, exactly, is he aiming if he has fifteen more names on the whiteboard? Does he really think if he's patient he'll get a shot at a LeBron or KD? He's made it clear he won't settle, but after the names above it seems the franchise is veering towards delusion territory.

The wait continues for a conclusion to this ugly saga. For now, we can all think about Morey's Big List.