Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: 76ers 'Aren't Lowering the Asking Price' Ahead of Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2022

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Philadelphia 76ers have indicated to other teams they "aren’t lowering the asking price" for three-time All-Star Ben Simmons, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix.

Mannix added the Sixers are looking for an "established All-Star" as part of any deal.

That matches what The Athletic's Sam Amick reported on Jan. 5. Amick wrote Philadelphia wants "a massive haul" and that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey continues to covet the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard and the Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the team remains hopeful that Simmons will return and rejoin the lineup. He has yet to play in a single game this season amid his protracted standoff.

However, John Hollinger of The Athletic reported the "consensus opinion around the league remains that Philadelphia is more likely to act at the trade deadline."

For the moment, it's difficult to envision a scenario in which the Sixers get everything they're asking for in return for the 25-year-old.

Simmons' trade value reached its nadir in the immediate aftermath of the 2021 playoffs, when he averaged 11.9 points, 8.8 assists and 7.9 rebounds. The relatively minimal impact he had on offense in the late stages of the conference semifinals was especially damning.

Since then, nothing has happened to improve his overall stock. Simmons acknowledged that "there's a lot of things I need to work on" following Philadelphia's postseason exit, but there's no evidence to show whether he's a better shooter or scorer now.

The 6'11" guard is a dynamic playmaker and elite defender, yet his flaws become magnified in the playoff pressure cooker. That's ultimately what matters for franchises with championship aspirations.

Unless the Sixers lower their demands, opposing teams may as well call their bluff ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline.

Is Simmons really going to sit out an entire season? If the answer is yes, then Philadelphia will have lost even more leverage when it returns to the bargaining table in the offseason. Conversely, if he returns and plays at a higher level than he already has, the idea of parting with an All-Star probably becomes a little more palatable for interested suitors.

At least the deadline will provide a short-term resolution one way or the other as to whether Simmons is staying with his current team.