The Philadelphia 76ers have to figure out what to do with All-Star Ben Simmons this offseason. They can remain committed to him and to making the Simmons-Joel Embiid duo work, or they can decide they've had enough and trade him. We don't know what direction they're going in yet, but it appears they're at least willing to explore option B.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the Sixers have "opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons," and have even spoken with a few teams already.
Fallout from bad playoffs performance
The move to reportedly listen to trade offers could be motivated by his lackluster playoffs performance. Simmons drew heavy criticism from fans, commentators, and even Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers for his play during the Sixers' Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks, especially in the last few games. He was consistently unwilling to shoot the ball, averaging just 6.3 points over Games 5, 6, and 7. On free throws, he was just 15-for-45 through all seven games of the series.
Even if Simmons hadn't spent part of the playoffs shooting like a blindfolded party guest searching for a piñata, it wouldn't be totally outlandish for the Sixers to be listening to offers. They had reportedly included him in a package for James Harden early in the season, so he's not untouchable.
Teams that want Simmons will have to meet the Sixers' high asking price, though. Via The Athletic:
“(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,” one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said.
Despite his recent struggles, Simmons is likely worth the high price tag. He's talented, 25 years old and under contract through 2025. Charania reported that interest in the three-time All-Star is "robust." If a team is willing to give up what the Sixers are asking for, Simmons could be on his way out of Philadelphia.
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