Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: 76ers Start Talks, Want 'All-Star-Caliber' Player in Return

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) in action during the second half of Game 3 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, May 29, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly willing to part with All-Star guard Ben Simmons this offseason for the right price.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Sixers have "opened up trade conversations" and "engaged with teams" regarding Simmons. Charania added that a source said the 76ers are asking for an "All-Star-caliber player" in return.

Simmons, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, is a three-time All-Star and is just shy of 25 years old, but he has been viewed as a likely trade candidate since his poor performance in the 2021 NBA playoffs.

While Simmons is not a top scoring option, he has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals across his four NBA seasons. He's also shot 56.0 percent from the field, although he shoots only 59.7 percent from the free-throw line and almost never attempts three-point shots, with only five career makes from long range.

Overall, Simmons' numbers were down this season, as he averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.6 steals. Still, he was named an All-Star for the third consecutive season and finished second to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert in NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting.

The Aussie undoubtedly has value as a defender and playmaker, but he may have forced the Sixers' hand by being a detriment during the postseason.

His averages of 8.8 assists and 7.9 rebounds were strong, but he scored only 11.9 points per game and shot a miserable 34.2 percent from the charity stripe.

He was especially bad in the Sixers' second-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, averaging just 9.9 points per game and not attempting a single shot during the fourth quarter of any of the final four games in the series.

Failing to get past the second round was considered a huge disappointment for a Sixers team that finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, and Simmons may end up being the scapegoat.

The 76ers have an elite center in Joel Embiid, and given his injury history, there may be a sense of urgency to put a championship-contending team around him. Of anyone on the roster, Simmons would almost certainly net the biggest return.

Even with his offensive issues, Simmons is still young and oozing with potential, and he is signed through the 2024-25 season.

Because of that, Charania noted that leaguewide interest in Simmons is "robust," which suggests the Sixers may be able to get the type of return they are looking for.