It’s time for the Ben Simmons rumor of the day.
This one comes from ESPN’s Woj, who is reporting that there’s a lack of needle movement RE: some of the names floating around out there:
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says players like Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis and John Collins are not moving the needle for Philadelphia in Ben Simmons trade talks
(h/t @AhnFireDigital )
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 12, 2022
And on Tuesday, Woj said straight up that there is “no movement” on a possible Simmons trade, now a little less than one month from the February 10th deadline.
We’ve been over that scenario a hundred times before. If Daryl Morey thinks he can do better in the summer, so be it, but he would essentially be punting the season for a better attempt next year. It would amount to one step backward in the hopes of taking two steps forward while essentially forfeiting a prime Joel Embiid year. That’s the hard part to swallow, since you don’t know how many amazing years Embiid has left. It’s hard to accept sacrificing one of these seasons because Simmo the Savage doesn’t wanna play.
There was also a Wednesday article from Sam Amick at The Athletic, and he writes the following about other possible suitor concerns:
…there’s the fact that Simmons hasn’t played in an NBA game since June 20, 2021 and, well, the lasting impression from that infamous Game 7 of the East semifinals against Atlanta wasn’t exactly a good one. Accurate or not, this years-long pattern of Simmons struggling with confidence issues on the floor is seen by some interested teams as a separate matter from the mental-health struggles that he has cited as his reason for staying off it. In terms of Simmons’ eventual availability with a new team, the message has been sent that he would be ready to play after a few weeks of intensified conditioning and court action.
But while making the front-office rounds to get a better understanding of the Simmons studies happening in real time here, I stumbled on this somewhat surprising sentiment: The length (and size) of his contract, which has been seen by the Sixers as a major leverage point and justification for the steep asking price because the threat of free agency delayed, is actually a concern to some. To review, Simmons has three more seasons and a combined $108.8 million left on his deal after this season (through 2024-25). And the hesitation, it seems clear, has everything to do with the question of whether or not Simmons can be trusted to actually play like the best version of himself, continue to develop and be a cohesive force with his teammates in ways that he wasn’t always before.
This falls by the wayside. Even if Simmons does come back and he’s on the floor, what player are you getting? Before the holdout, we were asking a bazillion questions about his offensive game and lack of shooting. He passed up on the dunk in the Atlanta game, right? So is it worth trading for a guy that may not even get over the hump at all?
That’s the X-factor here. It’s not just about working out a deal that makes sense. It’s determining what Ben is going to be in the future, and there’s a calculated risk in making that kind of move. Ben might have hit his ceiling, or maybe not, but nobody truly knows, and that’s enough of a red flag to ward off potential suitors.