Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: Caris LeVert Among Players Discussed in 76ers-Pacers Talks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 5, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 11: Caris LeVert #22 of the Indiana Pacers plays defense on Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the game on May 11, 2021 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers had preliminary discussions about a trade involving Ben Simmons and Caris LeVert, according to SNY's Ian Begley.

"It is unknown if talks between Philadelphia and Indiana have progressed beyond run-of-the-mill contact," Begley reported.

Simmons has yet to join his team ahead of the upcoming NBA season. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported on Oct. 1 the Sixers withheld the roughly $8.25 million he was owed in escrow because he didn't show up at training camp.

Both the Sixers and Simmons appear to be entrenched in their respective positions. The three-time All-Star may already be planning for an exit, with the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey reporting he has listed one of his Philadelphia-area residences for sale.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst described the Pacers as a "sleeper team" in the Simmons sweepstakes:

Colleague Bobby Marks had listed Indiana as one of the six likeliest landing spots for the 25-year-old as well.

Indianapolis isn't a marquee market, so the Pacers' only hope of landing a player as good as Simmons is either through the draft or a trade. The team also has proven contributors such as LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis to headline any trade package.

A one-for-one LeVert/Simmons swap doesn't make much sense for Philadelphia, and it wouldn't work anyway because of the wide gap in their salaries. LeVert will earn $17.5 million, while Simmons is due to collect slightly more than $33 million.

LeVert would at least help address some of the Sixers' bigger issues, though. He averaged 20.2 points and 5.2 assists between his time with the Pacers and Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21.

Head coach Doc Rivers needs a player who can ease some of the scoring burden on Joel Embiid and create his own shot when things get bogged down in the playoffs. 

Throw Brogdon (21.2 points, 5.9 assists) into the mix, too, and trading away Simmons may not be as bad an outcome for the Sixers as some expect.

During Monday's edition of The Lowe Post, Marks speculated Oct. 18 could be a telling benchmark as to whether Indiana is serious in its pursuit of Simmons.

"That's the last day for players like [Brogdon] and [LeVert] to get extended because they've got two years left on their contract," Mark said at the 52:23 mark. "Once they get extended, they're off the board if that's in place."


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