After months of insisting that he would hold out until he was traded, Ben Simmons made a surprising return to the Philadelphia 76ers last week.
Given that the 25-year-old had consistently maintained he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to get what he wanted, the fact that he relented so immediately as soon as the Sixers put a little financial pressure on him was a bit crazy.
Nevertheless, clearly the ongoing situation between Simmons and the 76ers is untenable. A trade needs to happen as quickly as possible so all parties can finally move on.
The question is: who will step up to the plate and give Philly a good deal?
As noted by Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Los Angeles Clippers could emerge as a serious suitor for Simmons’ services.
In the proposed trade, the Sixers would trade Simmons to LA for Terance Mann, Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, Keon Johnson, a 2028 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026.
“With Kawhi Leonard expected to miss the majority of the regular season with a partially torn ACL, Simmons would be a nice defensive replacement who would instantly become the best playmaker on the roster,” Swartz wrote.
“A backcourt of Simmons and Reggie Jackson alongside George, Marcus Morris Sr. and Serge Ibaka would still be a major threat in the West even without Leonard, especially with Ivica Zubac, Nicolas Batum, Justise Winslow and rookie Jason Preston (when he recovers from foot surgery) off the bench.
“Bledsoe would take over starting point guard duties in Philadelphia and should be re-energized on a title contender after a down year with the New Orleans Pelicans. Mann, 24, made 41.8 percent of his threes last season and dropped 39 points to help eliminate the Utah Jazz. Kennard (44.6 percent from three) ranked eighth in the NBA last season in outside accuracy. Picking up Johnson, the 21st overall pick in the 2021 draft, and six additional draft picks would give the Sixers some good trade ammunition should they want to make another deal in the future.”
Clearly this would be a win-win for all sides.
When Terry Bradshaw saw what Erin Andrews was wearing, he couldn’t help himself. https://t.co/Yg0qPqcErK
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 15, 2021
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s recent comments about Leonard’s return are telling. If this group wants to make noise this year, it needs to make a big move.
Similarly, Philly cannot go on like this for much longer. Yes, they have a clear asking price for Simmons in mind. Sure, they have already rejected two good trade proposals for not being exactly what they wanted. But at a certain point, much like Simmons has, the front office will need to relent to some degree for the sake of progress.
Time will tell if this Clippers deal is the one the 76ers will ultimately compromise on. But either way, it’s clear that Simmons isn’t long for Philadelphia. He is getting moved soon. And now it’s just matter of when.