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Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: Cavs Continue to Keep 'Hat in the Ring' for 76ers Star

Adam WellsSeptember 7, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Having already made some notable roster moves this offseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly not giving up on possibly adding Ben Simmons. 

Per NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Cavs are continuing to keep their "hat in the ring" for the Philadelphia 76ers star. 

On an episode of The Mismatch last week (h/t Kevin McCormick of Sports Illustrated), The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor noted he has heard Cleveland is "a team to watch out for for Ben Simmons."

That came on the heels of Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reporting that Simmons told 76ers team brass, including co-managing partner Josh Harris and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, he doesn't want to be with the team anymore. 

Pompey added Simmons doesn't intend to report to training camp if a trade can't be worked out before then. 

Tensions have been simmering between Simmons and the 76ers since the team's Game 7 playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks on June 20.

Simmons struggled to score throughout the series, but it was particularly egregious over the final three games when he attempted a total of 14 shots. The 25-year-old also passed up a potential game-tying layup midway through the fourth quarter of Game 7. 

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After the Sixers loss, Joel Embiid told reporters the turning point came when Simmons passed the ball off to Matisse Thybulle rather than attack the basket. Thybulle was fouled and converted one of two free throws to tie the score at 78. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Ben Simmons did not just pass this up... <a href="https://t.co/4JyM7ZHNkJ">pic.twitter.com/4JyM7ZHNkJ</a>

Head coach Doc Rivers gave a telling response after the game when asked if he thought Simmons could be the point guard for a championship team. 

"I don't know the answer to that," Rivers told reporters

The Cavs have been loading up on power forwards this offseason. The team still has Kevin Love under contract, drafted Evan Mobley with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA draft and acquired Lauri Markkanen in a three-team sign-and-trade deal with the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers on Aug. 30.

Cleveland's front office has been trying to move point guard Collin Sexton, who is eligible for a rookie extension this offseason. Love has also been on the trade market, though Sam Amico of Hoops Wire reported last month there is "no market" for him right now. 

The Sixers are in a tricky spot with Simmons. He's a 25-year-old, three-time All-Star who is signed through the 2024-25 season. But his value has likely been depressed because of his performance in the playoffs. 

It also doesn't help Philadelphia's leverage that Simmons isn't hiding his desire to play elsewhere. 

Simmons is still a very good player who should net a big return—if the 76ers can find a trade partner. He has been named to the All-Defensive first team each of the past two seasons and averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game in 58 starts last season.    

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