Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons figures to have a rumor mill all his own this offseason. Following a disappointing playoff run punctuated by an average of 6.3 points over his final three games, it's fair to wonder about his future alongside Joel Embiid (who also singled out a Simmons play as the turning point of Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks).
The trade rumors regarding Simmons started long before then, but they got much louder in the aftermath of the team's exit from the postseason. And a recent report in The Athletic by Shams Charania has turned the volume up even more.
"The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic," Charania wrote. "Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.
"'(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,' one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said.
"Make no mistake: Interest across the league in Simmons remains robust. He's turning just 25 this month, was an All-NBA team member in 2019-20, is a two-time All-Defensive first-team member and a Rookie of the Year award winner. Simmons is under contract through 2025, making him the type of superstar talent that rarely becomes available at an attainable price at this juncture of his career."
The lofty asking price makes sense. Philly was never going to give up one of the game's most uniquely productive players for nothing (Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson are the only players in NBA history with at least as many points, rebounds and assists through their first 275 games).
76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey may still be in that "shoot for the moon and land among the stars" mode, though. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, he's hoping to add Damian Lillard:
"All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland's CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer."
Unless Lillard demands a trade from the only NBA team he's ever played for (and there were rumblings reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports earlier in the summer that that could happen), talks centered around he and Simmons should be a non-starter for the Portland Trail Blazers.