The Atlanta Hawks may have interest in Ben Simmons, but they won't take back another big contract from the Philadelphia 76ers to make a potential deal happen.
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (starts at 1:05 mark), the Hawks wouldn't take Tobias Harris in a trade from the Sixers involving Simmons:
Wojnarowski noted there is "no movement" on a Simmons deal at this point and that the situation with the Sixers could drag out until the 2022 NBA draft.
The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported on The Hoop Collective podcast (starts at 40:05 mark) that the 76ers have tried to include the 29-year-old Harris in some of their talks with the Hawks about Simmons.
Given the high salaries of Simmons and Harris, trying to trade one of them on their own would be difficult enough for many teams. Putting them together amounts to $69 million in salary this season, per Spotrac. That figure becomes $73.1 million in 2022-23 and $77.1 million in 2023-24. Simmons will also make $40.3 million alone in 2024-25.
The Hawks could attempt to shake things up at the trade deadline. They are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 17-22 record, including 13 losses in their past 19 games after a seven-game winning streak from Nov. 14-26. And they had high expectations this season after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
General manager Travis Schlenk appeared on 92.9 FM The Game (h/t Pat Benson of Sports Illustrated) to vent his frustration about Atlanta's performance.
"It's a hard pill to swallow when your team isn't playing as well as you think it should," he said. "Maybe I should lower my expectations for this team."
Atlanta is already $22.3 million over the cap this season, and the roster will get more expensive starting in 2022-23 when Trae Young's rookie extension worth a guaranteed $172 million over five years kicks in.
The Hawks' primary issue has been defense, as they rank 25th in points allowed per game (111.5) and 28th in defensive rating (114.4), per Basketball Reference. Simmons would in theory offer a huge boost in that area.