The Ben Simmons saga is heating up. Simmons stated that he will not report to training camp with the Philadelphia 76ers, reiterating his demand that he wants to be traded before the start of the season. However, Simmons does not have the same leverage that other stars have had when trying to force their way out of a situation. The All-Star has four years left on his current contract, and general manager Daryl Morey is not known for making bad trades. It will be tough for Simmons to leave $33 million on the table if he decides to sit out the season, so it’s likely there will be some sort of détente while potential trades are bandied about over the coming weeks and months. These are some of the teams that could end up dealing for the former No. 1 overall pick.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers are the team most commonly linked to the 76ers. Philadelphia would be thrilled to land Damian Lillard in return for Simmons and some draft picks, but Portland seems unlikely to make the move. Although Simmons is younger and has the allure of potential, Lillard is a proven playoff performer and is beloved in the Rose City. Lillard also has four years left on his contract after signing a supermax extension two years ago, so he doesn’t have a lot of leverage either.
Another potential trade that has made the rounds involves Simmons being dealt to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Bradley Beal. This makes more sense than the Lillard trade as Beal is an unrestricted free agent in two years, and Washington might decide to move on considering the Wizards aren’t going to be very competitive in the Eastern Conference this year.
If Philadelphia wants to go the other way and receive a package with young players and draft picks in exchange for Simmons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have some interesting options. Cleveland has plenty of future draft picks that they can send to Philly in exchange for Simmons, and the Cavaliers also have two potential backcourt starts in Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. The rub here would be Simmons’ contract, so Kevin Love would almost have to be included in the deal.
Oklahoma City Thunder
No team could offer more draft picks to the Sixers than the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC has an incredible 36 draft picks over the next seven years with an equal number of first-round and second-round selections. The Thunder have plenty of cap space and draft capital, but Sam Presti seems unwilling to part with too much for a talented, but flawed star.
Los Angeles Clippers
Bill Simmons floated this on a recent podcast, and it makes some sense. While most trade articles have zeroed in on the Sacramento Kings as a potential trade partner in Simmons’ preferred destination of California, the Los Angeles Clippers might be able to land Ben Simmons. The deal would involve Paul George as the main piece that Philadelphia would receive, and it has the potential to improve both teams.