We've heard several people speculate about what Ben Simmons' future in Philadelphia will be. Now, Simmons himself has reportedly laid out his thoughts for the team to hear: he's done with the 76ers.
According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons met with Josh Harris, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand and Doc Rivers last week in Los Angeles and told them "that he no longer wants to remain a Sixer." Pompey adds that he also has no plans to report to training camp ahead of the 2021-22 season.
On Monday, NBA insider Shams Charania said that executives around the league had already come to the conclusion that Simmons would be dealt, and that it was a matter of not if but when that deal would occur. We're still waiting to see when that trade might play out, as there reportedly hasn't been much traction in negotiations, but Pompey's report seemingly eliminates the possibility of the team attempting to increase Simmons' value by playing him to begin the season. Though the Sixers can fine him for holding out, Pompey was told that "money will not play a role" in Simmons' decision.
Among the teams that have been mentioned in all the Simmons buzz are the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Portland Trail Blazers, the latter of which is likely the primary team of interest from Morey's point of view. As Pompey notes, "the belief around the league is the Sixers have been holding out for six-time All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard to request a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers," though momentum on this front has stalled.
Although there is reportedly "no shortage of teams still interested," the thought is that Morey's asking price remains too high — we saw some reported examples of what he wanted in return for Simmons prior to the 2021 NBA Draft — and that Philly "will have a tough time getting what they perceive as fair market value" for the polarizing 25-year-old. One suggestion from Pompey involved Simmons and Blazers guard CJ McCollum, though "both teams might think they should get more in return."
We'll leave you with this: one anonymous executive framed the whole situation with a fairly pessimistic point.
"Think about three months ago when the Sixers are willing to give up Ben Simmons. You are like, ‘Let’s see what we have to do to get him,'" the executive told Pompey. "Now, the difference is Ben Simmons says he refuses to play for the Sixers. He wants to go to three California teams. There’s so much bad blood between him and the team.
"...The kid said he's not going back. I'm not giving you what you're demanding. They really messed this up."