Stephen A: Ben Simmons Trade for McCollum, Covington, Picks Discussed by Blazers

Adam WellsSeptember 22, 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

Amid reports that Ben Simmons doesn't want to play for the Philadelphia 76ers anymore, the Portland Trail Blazers have at least considered a trade package for the three-time All-Star. 

On ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith reported the Blazers have discussed a deal that would send CJ McCollum, Robert Covington and draft picks to Philadelphia in exchange for Simmons. 

Stephen A Smith @stephenasmith

Wow! What a mess in Philadelphia right now with the <a href="https://twitter.com/sixers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Sixers</a>. Seems like Ben Simmons is not playing around. So what should the <a href="https://twitter.com/sixers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Sixers</a> do? <a href="https://t.co/36BYgasIVj">pic.twitter.com/36BYgasIVj</a>

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons won't report to Sixers training camp next week and "intends to never play another game for the franchise."

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported Simmons informed 76ers brass, including co-managing partner Josh Harris and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, about his desire to be traded. 

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday on ESPN Radio's Keyshawn, JWill, and Max show that he's hoping to change Simmons' mind: 

Keyshawn, JWill & Max @KeyJayandMax

“I hope we can change that thought.”<a href="https://twitter.com/DocRivers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DocRivers</a> on Ben Simmons never wanted to play another game for the Sixers.<br><br>(📍<a href="https://twitter.com/MyStraightTalk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MyStraightTalk</a>) <a href="https://t.co/aawFZlWegU">pic.twitter.com/aawFZlWegU</a>

The discord between Simmons and the organization stems from comments made by Rivers and Joel Embiid in the wake of Philadelphia's Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

"I don't know the answer to that question right now," Rivers said when asked in the postgame press conference if he thought Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team. 

The Blazers have frequently been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Simmons. Damian Lillard expressed his unhappiness with the state of the roster after Portland was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets. 

With Simmons reportedly standing strong on not wanting to remain in Philadelphia, it makes sense for the Trail Blazers to at least keep their options open right now. 

McCollum isn't a superstar-level player, but he would help fill Philadelphia's need for more shooting around Embiid. The 30-year-old has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the past six seasons and has shot over 40 percent from three-point range three times during that span. 

Covington knows Philadelphia well, having spent parts of five seasons with the Sixers from 2014-19 before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the Jimmy Butler deal. He's been a solid defensive player throughout his career and is a 35.9 percent shooter from behind the arc in his career. 

There aren't many teams that have the combination of high-level players and contracts that can easily match the $33 million owed to Simmons this season. 

Portland is one of them, with McCollum and Covington set to make a combined $43.8 million in 2021-22. 

It's up to the 76ers to decide if that potential offer is good enough to satisfy what they want to move on from Simmons. They will begin training camp, potentially without their starting point guard, on Sept. 28.