Woj: 'Very Distinct Possibility' Ben Simmons Isn't Traded by 76ers Before Camp

Adam WellsAugust 17, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Despite some apparent strife between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons, the two sides may not be able to separate before the start of training camp. 

Appearing on Get Up! (starts at 2:20 mark), ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said there is a "very distinct" possibility that Simmons is still with the Sixers when training camp begins. 

B/R's Jake Fischer reported the "overwhelming sense among league insiders" is that Simmons won't be traded before the 76ers report to camp on Sept. 28 "barring a change of temperature with Damian Lillard in Portland."

The relationship between Simmons and the Sixers seemed to reach a breaking point after the team's loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

Simmons struggled throughout the series, averaging only 9.9 points per game. He remained an active presence as a passer (8.6 assists per game) and rebounder (6.3), but Atlanta held him to single-digit points in each of the final three games. 

The tipping point was Simmons' decision to bypass a potential game-tying layup attempt in the fourth quarter of Game 7. He instead handed the ball off to Matisse Thybulle, who drove into double coverage before being fouled. 

Thybulle made one of two free throws to move the 76ers within one at 88-87, but the Hawks scored the next five points to extend their lead back to six with 2:31 remaining. 

Without citing him by name, Joel Embiid called Simmons' decision to pass in that spot as the turning point in the game. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

"I'll be honest, I thought the turning point was when we—I don't know how to say it—but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot and we made one free throw." <br><br>- Joel Embiid on the start of the turning point in Game 7 <a href="https://t.co/kHHATQtjAz">pic.twitter.com/kHHATQtjAz</a>

Philadelphia has reportedly been exploring trade options for Simmons this offseason, though there is no indication anything is close.

Per David Aldridge of The Athletic, the 76ers want "at least four future first-round picks via direct trade or pick swaps, along with an All-Star-level player in most (but not all) scenarios" to deal Simmons. 

Despite Simmons' rough ending to the 2020-21 season, he is still an incredibly valuable player. He is only 25 years old and has been named to the All-Star team in each of the past three seasons. 

The LSU alum is owed $146.7 million over the next four seasons on his current contract. He has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game in 275 starts over the past four seasons.