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Morey, 76ers Like What Ben Simmons Brings; Morey Coy on PG's Future amid Trade Rumors

Adam WellsJune 22, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File

Fresh off their season-ending loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey addressed the state of his roster heading into a crucial summer. 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Morey was coy when asked if Ben Simmons will be on the Sixers when the 2021-22 season begins. 

"We have a very strong group we believe in," Morey said. "None of us can say what the future brings. ... We like what Ben brings. We're going to do what's best to win a championship."

Simmons' future with the Sixers has come into question in the aftermath of his struggles this postseason, particularly against the Atlanta Hawks. He made 33 percent of his free-throw attempts in the series (15-of-45) and only attempted three fourth-quarter field goals during those seven games. 

Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh

Ben Simmons 4th quarter this series:<br>Game 1: 2-2 FG<br>Game 2: 0-0 FG<br>Game 3: 1-1 FG<br>Game 4: 0-0 FG<br>Game 5: 0-0 FG<br>Game 6: 0-0 FG<br>Game 7: 0-0 FG

Some in the media and 76ers fans have already speculated about the possibility of Simmons being traded this offseason, but Morey's public comments on Tuesday are positive about the three-time All-Star staying on the team. 

"We're committed to this group. ... 25 or 26 teams in this league would love to be in our situation. We have a good foundation. We have to do better. I have to do better," he said.

During the season, the Sixers were involved in the James Harden trade sweepstakes. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Jan. 15 the 76ers "thought they had a deal for Harden done" to the point that Simmons and Matisse Thybulle were told by their agents to expect they were going to be moved. 

Simmons has been a terrific player in the regular season over the course of his career. The 24-year-old is a three-time All-Star and has been named to the All-Defensive first team in each of the past two seasons. 

The 76ers posted the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season (49-23) and won the Atlantic Division for the first time in 20 years. 

Playoff success has eluded Simmons and the Sixers to this point, though. He only took 14 field-goal attempts in the final three games against the Hawks and scored fewer than 10 points in five of 12 playoff games this season. 

Philadelphia has lost in the first or second round of the postseason in each of the past four years. It hasn't advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals since the 2000-01 season when it lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. 

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