The Philadelphia 76ers have lost five straight games, but their hot start to the 2021-22 season reportedly hurt Ben Simmons' trade stock.
Michael Scotto of Hoopshype said he spoke to league executives who felt like the Sixers' strong start without Simmons showed he wasn't worth superstar-level compensation.
"I’ve heard this from some executives, too, that when Joel Embiid was healthy and before their recent losing streak, this team was performing well without him," Scotto said. "Some executives said to me it further lowered the trade value for Ben. When you lose a star player, you typically struggle, but Philadelphia coming out of the gate, was leading the Eastern Conference. Obviously, when they lost Embiid (Covid-19 protocols), that was like having the rug pulled out from them."
The Sixers and Simmons remain at a standstill, seemingly with no obvious endpoint. Simmons remains away from the team dealing with mental health issues, while the Sixers move forward with their season with the players they have on the floor.
It's a little specious to think that Simmons' value went down on the basis of a slightly hot start from the Sixers, mostly because it's hard to imagine his value going any lower than it already is. Both the Sixers and Simmons have played this situation as poorly as possible, leaving them stuck with one another—seemingly until a good trade falls out of the sky, or the Sixers cut their losses.
Philly's solid play to start the season without Simmons even has an easy explanation: Tyrese Maxey is good at basketball. The second-year guard has filled in capably at point guard, lessening the blow of losing Simmons. That's not an indictment of Simmons; a young player got better at his craft and improved the team in the process.
Simmons returning to the floor and organically improving his trade stock with his play would be an ideal scenario for the Sixers, but the three-time All-Star seemingly has given no indication he plans to return soon.