Ben Simmons requests trade
It has been an interesting offseason for the Philadelphia 76ers. After a fantastic regular season that saw them top the very competitive Eastern Conference with an impressive 49-23 record, the team fell short when it really mattered in the playoffs. They were eliminated in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks, despite having home court advantage.
Nobody was criticized more after the 76ers’ disappointing elimination than point guard Ben Simmons. His own coach Doc Rivers wasn’t even sure how to answer questions from the media regarding the 25-year-old after the game seven loss to the Hawks.
“I don’t know,” Rivers said when asked about Simmons’ struggles shooting the ball, via NBC Sports. “I don’t know. Obviously he struggled from the free throw line and that became a factor in the series. There’s no doubt about that. I still believe in him, but we have work to do. We’re going to have to get in the gym, put a lot of work in and go forward.”
Rivers seemed even more puzzled when asked if Simmons could ever play as a point guard on a championship team.
“I don’t know that question or the answer to that right now,” Rivers said. “I don’t know the answer to that.”
The lack of confidence from his head coach may be just one of the reasons that Simmons has reportedly requested a trade out of Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons met with 76ers management to formally ask to be moved. Per Pompey, the point guard expressed his desire to move on from the organization in a meeting last week with team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and coach Doc Rivers.
Pompey is also reporting that Simmons does not plan on turning up to Philadelphia’s preseason training camp if he is not traded. He currently still has four years and $147 million remaining on his contract with the 76ers.
Simmons has been rumoured to be on the trading block ever since the 76ers were ousted from the playoffs, but they have had a difficult time completing a deal. Pompey reported that the lack of a trade is due in part to the 76ers’ hefty demands for the point guard, as they do not want to take less than market value for the star.
The Toronto Raptors were just one team named to be interested in Simmons’ services, but the two teams haven’t been able to pull the trigger on a move. Prior to the NBA Draft, it was believed that Philadelphia had requested OG Anunoby, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and the fourth overall pick in the 2021 Draft for Simmons. That constituted a ransom Toronto were never going to pay.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for Simmons, but it seems that at this point it would be better for the organization and player if they went their separate ways. Only time will tell though if the 76ers are able to complete a trade and get back what they believe is a fair haul.