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Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: Execs Believe 'It's Only a Matter of When' Star Is Dealt

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

NBA training camp is fast approaching, and Ben Simmons is still a Philadelphia 76er.

Opposing teams don't think that will be the case for much longer.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported executives around the league believe "it’s only a matter of when—not if—the All-Defensive team stalwart is moved."

The Sixers have been exploring trade possibilities all offseason as the team and the three-time All-Star both seem ready to part ways.

Simmons is coming off a miserable postseason that saw him ridiculed for his lack of aggression and inability to make free throws. Joel Embiid pointed to Simmons' decision to pass up a wide-open dunk, seemingly in fear of being fouled, as the turning point in the Sixers' Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Round 2.

Coach Doc Rivers said he didn't know if Simmons could be the team's long-term answer at point guard after the game.

The fraying of Simmons' relationship with the team was a long time coming, especially after the Sixers attempted to trade him for James Harden, per Charania. His lack of progression, combined with the knowledge of the previous trade discussions and the seeming internal lack of faith in his development, led to a situation in which it may be best for both parties to move on.

That said, Simmons' postseason was so miserable that it may be impossible for the Sixers to recoup fair value. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey is not one to sell low on a star, and Simmons is a big name even though opinion of his game is at a nadir. It may be best for the short- and long-term health of the Sixers to wait out the situation and allow Simmons to remind people why he was so highly regarded.

Charania noted that Philadelphia "has its eyes set" on Damian Lillard, who the Portland Trail Blazers are "fully focused" on building around, despite speculation about his future. Playing the waiting game could also allow time for fissures to develop between the Blazers and  Lillard that could open up the possibility of a trade.