The Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons are almost certainly not long for each other. After trade speculation turned into Simmons threatening not to report for training camp, the only questions are where and when Simmons will be traded, and what the Sixers will get in return.
Sixers czar Daryl Morey started off asking for the moon. Nobody bit. He was hoping Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal would become available, but that hasn't happened yet. It might not happen at all. Even if it does, are those teams going to be looking to start a rebuild with a guy like Simmons, or might they want to go the increasingly popular route of young prospects and picks?
If it's the latter, Philadelphia doesn't have a package to offer. But it might if it moves Simmons now, then uses the return for a second move down the road. The Sixers are in win-now mode and would thus prefer a return package centered on a player, or players, that can enhance their championship prospects beyond what they would be by just keeping Simmons, who is still under contract for the next four seasons. But there's no saying they have to get that player right away.
If it takes until the trade deadline, so be it. Even if it takes until next summer, Joel Embiid is 27 years old and signed through 2026. There's still time for Philly to put its ultimate championship product on the floor. Yes, the title window appears open. And you don't know when it's going to close. Embiid, even as he's enjoyed relative health, is always going to feel like an injury risk. But patience is starting to feel like the right play.