As the NBA season rolls along, December 15th marks an important day on the calendar, with most of the league’s recently signed free agents becoming eligible for trade. Thus, discussions around Ben Simmons are heating up accordingly.
Earlier this week, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Daryl Morey and the Sixers are “ramping up efforts to spark multi-team trade scenarios to move Simmons,” with the Knicks and Lakers joining Portland, Sacramento, Indiana, Cleveland, and Minnesota as suitors. While I don’t expect either LA or New York to be as serious of a player as the other five (and other clubs), these reports underscore momentum building toward a trade.
As recently as today, Michael Scotto and Jake Fischer reported on the Hoops Hype podcast that the Pelicans and Sixers have held preliminary discussions regarding a potential deal; and later indicated that Detroit’s Jerami Grant—a player previously linked to Philly in trade rumors—continues to be widely-viewed around the league as available.
Suffice to say, the list of potential teams who could either target Simmons or look to be a beneficiary in a multi-team trade is comfortably in the double-digits. That’s quite a shift from the bleak state of affairs just a few months ago.
Morey knows that desperation often wins out over the course of a long season, and as his patience becomes more of an asset we shouldn’t expect him to blink. He’s shrewdly maintained a price tag of a top-25 player or collection of first-round picks in return for Simmons, and while no team seems willing to bite at the moment, expect that to change as the Sixers regain leverage with suitors now circling.
The next main date on the NBA calendar as far as transactions go is January 15th, when the remaining recently signed free agents become eligible for trade (those who signed using bird rights and the according salary escalator); at which point, the entire player pool is fair game leading up to the February 10th trade deadline.
While the Ben Simmons saga has been a long, depressing, and unpredictable journey—it’s fair to say the end may finally be in sight.