Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: Knicks Believed to Need 3-Team Deal to Land 76ers Star

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 14, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons takes part in a practice at the NBA basketball team's facility, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The New York Knicks reportedly believe they will need to be part of a "multi-team deal" to land Ben Simmons in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Ian Begley of SNY. 

"They (the Sixers) have been consistent in wanting a top player (in return for Simmons)," a source told Begley. "(The Knicks) would need to get creative."

The report comes a day after Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Sixers were "ramping up their efforts to spark multi-team trade scenarios to move [Ben] Simmons," with the Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly among the interested teams.

Per that report, Philly's asking price to prospective suitors is "an All-Star-caliber player and/or multiple first-round draft picks."

Simmons has yet to play this season after reports that he wanted to be traded over the summer. After a lengthy holdout, he returned to the team briefly in October, only to eventually tell teammates and coaches he wasn't ready to play and needed time to work on his mental health. 

Per Charania, Simmons has "sought help from a personal mental health specialist and gave the 76ers’ team therapist permission to speak with his own therapist."

Since leaving the team in October, Simmons has still not returned to game action. The 25-year-old is a three-time All-Star who averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season, but the lingering memory of him in Philadelphia will be his unwillingness to shoot the ball during the fourth quarters of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinals departure against the Atlanta Hawks, namely the dunk he passed on in Game 7. 

A change in scenery would make sense for both Simmons and the Sixers, with superstar Joel Embiid and Simmons always making for imperfect partners given that both are best operating closer to the basket. 

But assuming the Sixers find a trade partner for Simmons, they will miss his perimeter defense, playmaking and ability to push the pace in transition. 

Granted, the same things that made Simmons a questionable fit with Embiid would make him an equally puzzling fit next to Julius Randle, who has seen his three-point shooting (32.6 percent) regress this year after last year's career numbers (41.1 percent). 

But his defensive versatility would fit well on a Tom Thibodeau team, and he would equally give the team a playmaking boost. It seems likely the Knicks will need to find a third team to get the deal done, however.