Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons has turned the trade talk tables

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

While the rest of the NBA openly debated his prospects and mock traded him to about a dozen teams not named the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons has been weirdly silent.

Sure, we’ve seen him in the gym and hanging out with his girlfriend on social media, but outside of the occasional whisper here or there, Simmons’ camp hasn’t been too boisterous about his desired playing destination this fall.

Heck, not 12 hours ago, FS1’s Chris Broussard was openly squelching any idea that Simmons would hold out or be a distraction for the team at next month’s camp, as it simply isn’t the style of his agent, Rich Paul.

Well, as it turns out, that silence has been broken, Broussard was wrong, and Ben Simmons has made his intentions known: His career with the Philadelphia 76ers is over, and he wants a trade.

Time is no longer on the Philadelphia 76ers’ side when it comes to Ben Simmons.

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In the NBA, everything changes when a star player demands a trade.

Any hopes of working things out go out the window, any promises of “re-tooling the roster” become pointless, and the vultures come out of the woodwork in an attempt to snatch away a superstar player when they oh so infrequently become available.

For months, the Philadelphia 76ers have been hoping that a player like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal would demand a trade and allow Daryl Morey to swoop in and exchange his impressive asset pool for a new star player to partner with Joel Embiid moving forward.

Instead, the joke was on the Sixers, as their very public star hunting endeavors only cemented the rift between the organization and their second-best player, Ben Simmons, and allows him to be the player who demands a trade with a camp holdout very much on the table.

*sigh* this stinks.

While the Sixers could still leave this situation a better team, as they can surely still secure a prince’s ransom for Simmons’ services, any chances of holding out for a better offer in, say January when the entirety of the Association has their trade restrictions lifted is basically over. Teams will come with their best offers, engaging in what surely will be a fairly contentious bidding war, but the endgame is clear: Ben Simmons will be traded.

Will the Sixers end up with players D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jaden McDaniels, a package many scoffed at one day prior? How about whatever collection of players Masi Ugiri brings to the table, say Paschal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr? Oh goodness, the Sixers are going to end up with a package centered around Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Jonathan Kuminga, aren’t they? I really don’t want to have to root for Andrew Wiggins for the next two seasons.

Could a player like Beal or Lillard still demand a trade over the next month? Sure. Could Morey ready a godfather offer for his preferred player – Lillard – and very publically force a team into an awkward situation?  Again, sure, but if that was going to happen, wouldn’t it have happened already, you know, when the Sixers could have actually moved draft picks instead of players and planned their free agent strategy around their actual players?

At this point, landing De’Aaron Fox might just be the Sixers’ ceiling if they want to end up with a high usage, on-ball guard with All-Star potential, and a do-it-all mentality. If the team is going to move off of Simmons at this point in the summer, they really need to find a proven facilitator who can form a two-man game with Joel Embiid and keep the offense moving.

If the Sixers have to roll into the regular season with Tyrese Maxey as the team’s starting point guard and… Shake Milton(?) as their backup one, the margin of error becomes a whole heck of a lot smaller than it would be with Simmons on the roster.

Unfortunately, keeping Simmons is all but surely no longer an option, and outside of Fox – and Lillard, who all but surely isn’t available – there really isn’t another top-20 point guard available for Simmons’ services.

Next. Minnesota has no realistic Ben Simmons trade package. dark

In a perfect world, Ben Simmons wouldn’t have all but demanded a trade, but frankly, I get why he did. He clearly wants to be back in the City of Brotherly Love about as much as Philadelphia 76ers fans want him back, and by making his intentions clear, he will all but surely be gone sooner than later. The onus now falls on Daryl Morey to navigate these increasingly tumultuous waters and try to steer his team to a better fate than the season prior, which feels woefully difficult at this point. Hopefully, things are the darkest before the dawn, but as things presently stand, Morey might need a flashlight.