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NBA Trade Rumors: Ben Simmons Eyeing '3 California Teams' as Landing Spots

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 31, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Ben Simmons reportedly no longer wants to play for the only NBA team he has ever known and is looking to make a move to the West Coast.

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the versatile playmaker told team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and head coach Doc Rivers that he no longer wants to stay in Philadelphia during a meeting.

What's more, Simmons does not plan on reporting to training camp if he is not traded.

"Think about three months ago when the Sixers are willing to give up Ben Simmons. You are like, 'Let's see what we have to do to get him,'" a Western Conference executive said. "Now, the difference is Ben Simmons says he refuses to play for the Sixers. He wants to go to three California teams. There's so much bad blood between him and the team."

Pompey added that Philadelphia has struggled to garner what it sees as fair market value in trade discussions, and the same executive explained the team no longer has as much leverage with others around the league knowing Simmons wants out and doesn't plan on reporting to training camp.

"The kid said he's not going back," the executive said. "I'm not giving you what you're demanding. They really messed this up."

While Pompey reported the 76ers may be waiting for Damian Lillard to formally request a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, he also pointed out that the six-time All-NBA selection recently said he is not looking to leave the Trail Blazers.

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As for training camp, the 76ers can fine Simmons if he doesn't report but may not run the risk of alienating his representation in Klutch Sports since, as Pompey wrote, it represents "a who's who of clients—players the Sixers might be interested in pursuing down the road in free agency."

Any team trading for Simmons would, in theory, be adding a franchise cornerstone.

After all, he is just 25 years old with three All-Star selections, two All-Defensive honorees, a Rookie of the Year and an All-NBA third team selection on his resume. He is a walking triple-double when playing at his best and averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game in 2020-21.

However, there are also significant concerns about his shooting ability, which were never more clear than during the 76ers' second-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

He passed up a number of open looks in critical moments, struggled on the free-throw line and allowed the Hawks to drop further into the paint to send double teams toward Joel Embiid and cut off driving lanes for others.

Whether Simmons will return to the 76ers or get traded remains one of the biggest storylines around the league with the 2021-22 season approaching, but he will still have a flawed game wherever he ends up.

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