76ers Expected To Consider Ben Simmons Trade

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Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in LSU Tigers 89-85 win over Georgia Bulldogs. Reuters/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons might have played his last game for the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. That’s a growing sentiment after the team was stunned by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs, eliminating the Sixers on their home court with a 103-96 Game 7 loss.

Simmons quickly became the scapegoat for a Philadelphia team that had the best record in the East and was heavily favored to reach the conference finals. The three-time All-Star was a liability on offense in key moments, attempting just three total field goals in the series’ fourth quarters. 

Simmons missed 48 of his 73 free-throw attempts in the playoffs, setting a record for futility at the line. He didn’t make a single three-pointer in the postseason and scored just 18 points over Philadelphia’s final three games.

In Sunday’s postgame press conference, Joel Embiid pointed to a couple of Simmons’ miscues as the turning point for the Game 7 loss. When Doc Rivers was asked if Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team, the head coach said he didn’t know the answer.

“I ain’t shoot well from the line this series,” Simmons said after the Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. “Offensively, I wasn’t there. I didn't do enough for my teammates. ... There’s a lot of things that I need to work on.”

 

 

 

In looking for ways to improve the team, trading Simmons may be the best option for Philadelphia. Sixers general manager Daryl Morey tried to trade Simmons for James Harden during the regular season, but the Houston Rockets instead took the Brooklyn Nets’ offer. 

Philadelphia is expected to see what they can get for Simmons in a trade this offseason. Swapping him for a superstar no longer seems to be on the table, given his diminished value after yet another poor playoff performance. The $147 million that Simmons is owed over the next four years also makes him difficult to move for another All-Star.

At 24 years old with elite athleticism, Simmons will still intrigue some teams if made available. The former No. 1 overall pick was second in the 2021 NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting. There’s still optimism that he could thrive in a different role, just not as the second star next to Embiid.

What kind of player could Philadelphia get in return for Simmons? Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is a deal that executives around the NBA believe makes sense, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. McCollum, like Simmons, came up short this postseason as his team had yet another early playoff exit.

Acquiring McCollum or a player like him might not put Philadelphia over the top, but it’s probably worth a shot. In four straight postseason appearances with Simmons as the starting point guard, the 76ers have not made it past the second round.

Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game in the regular season.


Ben Simmons

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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