The self-inflicted character assassination of Ben Simmons continues with the latest news surrounding his saga with the Philadelphia 76ers. It was reported by multiple sources a few weeks ago that Simmons is no longer communicating with the Sixers directly, coursing all discussions through his agent Rich Paul. As you can imagine, the lack of communication leaves little room reconciliation, as it’s apparent now that Paul’s mandate is to get Simmons out of Philadelphia sooner rather than later.
The Sixers are interested in moving the young star as well. However, a steep asking price has left teams wondering the sincerity of these intentions, with Philadelphia’s expectations deemed to be unrealistic. The Sixers reportedly seek compensation similar to what Houston received in exchange for James Harden, but everybody and their grandma know that Ben Simmons is no Harden.
Since then, a new wrinkle to the situation has surfaced. With four years left on his maximum contract, Simmons has no leverage in trade conversations and cannot truly dictate where he will play next season. This fact is not stopping his camp from attempting to influence the situation to land Ben on a team he wants to play for, taking the route of appearing as a would-be distressed asset to deter specific teams from trading for him. One such team is the Portland Trail Blazers, who have been linked to Simmons ever since the summer kicked off.
“He doesn’t want to go to a bad situation. He’s reading the tea leaves. He sees Toronto, he sees Portland and then, being frank being the young socialite that he is, he’s not looking to go to any of those situations. He’s looking to go to the California teams.”Jason Dumas, radio segment with 95.7 The Game in Philadelphia
It seems as if Ben is not necessarily looking for the best basketball fit next season. Rather, the young star is looking at his off-court activities as the deciding factor for his preferred destination. Dumas also reported earlier this week that Simmons would be open to joining the Golden State Warriors, another California-based team that will likely be contending for a championship next year. Ben can name teams all he wants, but if his camp thinks Daryl Morey will capitulate to Ben’s wishes and take a deal he is not sold on just to be rid of a distressed asset, he’s terribly mistaken.
Morey will hold on for as long as it takes and do what is best for the franchise, even if that means leaving a max player on the bench until the right deal comes. None of the California teams are poised to make an offer for Simmons that will fancy Morey, so if the Sixers were to send Simmons somewhere, it would be a city that may not precisely fit his socialite needs.
One thing is for sure, Rich Paul will not stop until he gets what his client wants, and Morey is not the type to play ball in such situations, so we can expect Simmons to start the year with the Philadelphia 76ers unless an unexpected change in strategy happens. The only question now is whether Ben Simmons will be in warm-ups or out there on the floor helping the Sixers win basketball games.