Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: 76ers Targeting Western Conference Teams for Move

Adam WellsSeptember 29, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons warms up before 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

If the Philadelphia 76ers do trade Ben Simmons, they are reportedly looking to get him out of the Eastern Conference. 

Per USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, the Sixers are "targeting" Western Conference teams in their search to find a trade partner for the three-time All-Star. 

Simmons has reportedly made it known to Sixers management, including president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and head coach Doc Rivers, that he no longer wants to be with the organization. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that Simmons wasn't going to report for the start of training camp and "intends to never play another game" for the 76ers. 

On Tuesday, the first day of camp, The Athletic's Sam Amick reported Simmons specifically no longer wants to play with Joel Embiid. 

"As he sees it, sources say, the organization’s choice to build its basketball ecosystem around Embiid’s style simply isn’t conducive to the way he needs to play," Amick wrote. "So while Embiid insisted to reporters on Monday that he wants Simmons back, this much is clear: The feeling is not mutual."

Rivers told reporters on Tuesday he does "believe at some point" Simmons will be back with the 76ers. 

Tensions between Simmons and the Sixers have been running high since the team's playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Rivers and Embiid strongly implied after Game 7 that Simmons' decision-making was a significant factor in their 103-96 defeat. 

The Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves are among the teams that have been linked as potential landing spots for Simmons, but there is no indication at this point any deal is close. 

Philadelphia doesn't necessarily have to act quickly on a Simmons trade. He still has four years remaining on his contract.

The 25-year-old's deal is structured in such a way that he receives half of his 2021-22 salary ($16.5 million) on Oct. 1, so he will still have a significant amount of money from the Sixers in the bank even if he gets fined for missing regular-season games. 

Simmons has spent his entire five-year career in Philadelphia. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft but missed the 2016-17 season with an injury. The LSU alum has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game in 275 starts. 

The 76ers have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons with Simmons as their starting point guard. Their 49-23 record in 2020-21 was the best in the Eastern Conference.