Sixers: How likely is Ben Simmons to be traded during the NBA Draft?

The NBA Draft is slated to begin in a few hours, and the Sixers and Daryl Morey are expected to be on of the most active teams in the league tonight as they search to shake up their roster—potentially finding Ben Simmons a new home in the process.

While Ben Simmons trade rumors have been ongoing from the minute the team was eliminated from the playoffs, they hit a fever pitch this past week, with the perceived availability of Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal kickstarting the possibility of him being moved sooner than later. Yesterday’s reporting from Adrian Wojnarowksi suggests that the draft is the perfect vehicle to accelerate a Simmons trade.

While being “in step” with a move elsewhere isn’t exactly the same as demanding a trade, nobody should be surprised at this development considering the way Simmons has been treated by the local media and fan base—a group whose ability to run talent out of town for insufficient reasons is tried and true. With Simmons understandably less than content in his current situation, and given the Sixers desire to shake up the roster, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that a trade is on the horizon.

With all that said, any suggestion that his days in Philly are “over” or that him being traded is a matter of “when” and not “if” is flatly incorrect. Sure, “when” could mean literally any time, but the widely-reported assessment that he’ll likely be moved tonight during the Draft is lacking nuance.

The Sixers aren’t going to sell-off Ben for spare parts or pennies on the dollar, and as it stands right now the rest of the league isn’t willing to meet (or even approach) Morey’s asking price. In the past week there have been a handful of reported trade proposals that reveal just how high the front office understandably continues to value Simmons.

Over the weekend, multiple sources confirmed that a package including Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the 4th overall pick for Simmons was rejected by Toronto. Yesterday, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that the Sixers asked for 4 first rounders, 3 pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs in return for Simmons. Adrian Wojnarowski quoted one league GM who described the Sixers trade demands for Ben as “Harden-esque.”

Juxtapose those packages with the reported offer of Brogdon and a first round pick from the Pacers—an offer that Morey swiftly declined—and we see just how far apart the Sixers are with potential trade partners. The gap between Simmons perceived value by the front office and opposing front offices around the league is massive, and despite a sense of inevitability around a deal happening on Draft night, that chasm feels insurmountable (at least for the time being).

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