Sixers’ Bold Ben Simmons Trade Strategy is Actually Genius
The start of training camp is just around the corner, and there is still no telling when or how the Ben Simmons saga will end. Despite formally requesting a trade and threatening to holdout, the former number one pick remains a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Daryl Morey has actively held discussions for the three-time All-Star, and despite multiple teams expressing interest, a deal has yet to come about. One major roadblock in talks has been each side finding a proper middle ground.
Everyone knows that Simmons’ stock took a big hit following his performance against the Atlanta Hawks in the postseason. That said, Morey has remained firm on the return price for the 25-year-old. He is looking for an All-Star caliber player in any return package for Simmons.
This situation is much different compared to previous All-Star trades. Typically, when a team is moving on from a star player, they are heading towards a rebuild. This is not the case for the Sixers. They still feel their window to compete for a championship is open now. With Joel Embiid currently in his prime, Morey is looking for pieces that will help maximize the All-Star center’s peak years. Acquiring draft picks and young prospects makes little sense in the Sixers’ current situation.
Morey’s desire for win-now assets has made it harder on the teams looking to acquire Simmons. Most of them are looking to add him to their young cores, not trade away foundational pieces to get a deal done.
Over the years, Morey has built a reputation of being one of the smartest executives in the league. He is not going to trade Simmons just for the sake of doing so. Until a trade emerges that moves the needle for the Sixers, he will remain in Philadelphia. Now that the offseason has come and gone, the reality has set in that this saga will carry into the regular season.
Some might think Morey is crazy for holding onto Simmons, but one NBA insider credits his patience. Marc Stein wrote in a recent article that Morey might be waiting for a team to start slow out of the gate to make his move on a Simmons trade.
Morey is surely hoping that a slow start for Portland or Sacramento could lead to the sort of early tension that prompts Damian Lillard to finally ask for a trade, or the sort of desperation that nudges the Kings into making De’Aaron Fox available.
This is certainly the right move on Morey’s part. Teams might not have been willing to meet the asking price in the offseason, but things can change in the blink of an eye in the opening weeks of the regular season.
Before opting to remain in Portland, Damian Lillard was Morey’s top prize in a potential Simmons trade. If the Trail Blazers stumble out of the gate and the writing is on the wall, the All-Star guard might finally seek a change of scenery.
It will lead to some uncomfortable situations, but waiting for the right move to come along is still the best option for the Sixers. What Morey gets in return for Simmons will drastically impact the Sixers’ chances to compete in the coming years, and he only has one shot to get it right.