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Ben Simmons Rumors: Raptors Interested in Trading for 76ers Star

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 24, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Toronto Raptors have reportedly "expressed some interest" in a potential trade for Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.

Substack's Marc Stein reported Friday on Chad Ford's NBA Big Board podcast the Raptors are exploring whether there's "a way" to get Simmons from the Sixers. 

The 25-year-old LSU product has been rumored as a potential trade candidate since Philly was knocked out of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. The three-time All-Star scored just 19 points over the final three games of that series.

Although he's been linked to numerous teams, a deal has never seemed imminent, and the Sixers' asking price is likely the reason why.

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that Philadelphia is seeking a "massive haul" headlined by an All-Star-level player to move Simmons.

The Australia native is a highly productive two-way player, averaging 14.3 points and 6.9 assists while being named All-Defensive first team for the second straight season in 2020-21, but his longtime shooting woes have kept him from reaching the true top tier of NBA players.

Simmons has attempted just 34 threes in his career and made five (14.7 percent), and he's also a career 59.7 percent shooter from the free-throw line.

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After the Sixers' postseason elimination, head coach Doc Rivers said there's a plan in place to help the point guard work through those shooting issues.

"I believe, without going into detail with what we're doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it," Rivers told reporters in June. "You can do the work all the time, but if it's not done in the right way and the right type of work, you may not improve."

The Raptors, meanwhile, will probably spend the offseason trying to find a new point guard with Kyle Lowry heading for the free-agent market and likely to land with a title contender. If Lowry returns, the team's interest in a Simmons trade will fade away.

Should Toronto add Simmons to a core currently led by power forward Pascal Siakam, the focus for the remainder of the offseason will be surrounding that duo with more outside shooting. Siakam shot just 29.7 percent from beyond the arc last season.

The Sixers' asking price may need to come down before the Simmons trade talk really heats up, though.

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