The Ben Simmons era in Philadelphia hasn’t gone according to plan, and it might be time for both sides to rethink their process.
The 76ers once again saw their season end earlier than anticipated, and once again, Simmons was the subject of criticism. The former No. 1 pick deferred to an alarming extent at the most important time of the season, and it’s certainly among the biggest reasons the Atlanta Hawks — and not the Sixers — are playing for a trip to the NBA Finals.
At this point, it might not be salvageable for Simmons in the City of Brotherly Love. For starters, his head coach already expressed skepticism about Simmons’ standing in the league and whether he can be a marquee player on a championship team. As such, it sounds like Simmons isn’t long for Philly.
The 76ers and Simmons’ representation have begun discussions about his future — or lack thereof — ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.
“(Simmons’ agent Rich Paul) met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons’ Sixers career,” Wojnarowski wrote, citing sources.
According to the same report, Paul spoke to the organization about “whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season.” However, Wojnarowski also noted Simmons’ camp hasn’t requested a trade, at least not yet. Furthermore, the 76ers want to keep Simmons around, sources told Wojnarowski.
Perhaps that will change if the offer is right. Teams have started checking in on Simmons’ availability, Wojnarowski reported.
Simmons, a 6-foot-11 point guard, was a No. 1 overall pick for a reason. The size alone at that position is unique, and he’s one of the best defenders in the league. He’s also a solid distributor to the point where he’s accused of deferring too much. Then again, he’s not a great shooter. Simmons is just 5-for-34 for his entire career from 3-point land, and he’s just a 60 percent free-throw shooter.
Still, given a fresh start on a team that can better utilize his skill set, he could still be very effective. Whether the Sixers can or are even willing to make that happen remains to be seen, but it sounds like there could be a decent market should they make him available.