The Sacramento Kings have reportedly considered a trade package of Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and two-first-round picks in exchange for the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pompey noted that the Sixers weren't interested in the package, however, and added that "sources have repeatedly said the Sixers are not interested in a deal involving De'Aaron Fox unless he's shipped to a third team."
One sticking point in that potential package is Thybulle, with a source telling Pompey the defensive stalwart is "close to being untouchable."
Another source told Pompey the Sixers have yet to receive a formal offer from Sacramento, though the Kings reportedly "have contacted people around the league in order to get background information on Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed."
And then there's the Harris wrinkle. Recent reports have suggested the team is trying to package Harris and the nearly $77 million he'll be owed in the final two years of his contract in any Simmons deal, and while the Sixers have denied it, Pompey reported "multiple teams around the league say that's the case."
And as for trading for both Simmons and Harris, the The Athletic's Sam Amick wrote Wednesday the Kings "appear to be considering the idea more seriously" than other teams around the NBA.
Of course, it's possible that nothing happens with Simmons at all until the summer, with Pompey reporting that "league executives believe the Sixers are content with holding onto Simmons throughout this season and moving him in the offseason."
That would ostensibly be to wait on a superstar like Damian Lillard, or perhaps a sign-and-trade deal with Brooklyn to land James Harden if he decides to move on.
On one hand, the Sixers can afford to be patient, having started the year 25-18. It would appear that even if Simmons sits all year, this group of Sixers can reach the postseason.
But without a second star, the Sixers' upside is severely diminished and they aren't a true title contender. That means the team risks wasting a year of Embiid's prime.
The Kings, on the other hand, probably don't have many reasons for maintaining the status quo after an 18-28 start.
Whether they break up their young backcourt remains to be seen, however, with The Athletic's Shams Charania reporting on Wednesday they "remain active in trade conversations, informing teams in the marketplace that they want to build around Fox and second-year guard Haliburton."
The Kings also reportedly informed Fox's agent Chris Gaston that they don't intend to trade him and want to build around the backcourt of Fox and Haliburton.