With the NBA Draft coming up later this week, NBA teams are thoroughly scouring the trade market to see if deals can be done before the class of 2021 comes off the board on Thursday night. Among the names still being heavily discussed in league circles is Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
A few weeks ago, the Sixers were reported to be actively shopping the former No. 1 overall pick after a poor postseason performance left a sour taste in the mouth of the team’s fanbase. Now, it seems like a group of teams have established themselves as clear suitors for Simmons.
According to Jake Fisher of Bleacher Report, five teams have shown interest in striking a deal for the 76ers guard. As of right now, that list includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Indiana Pacers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors.
“Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento and Toronto all showed interest in acquiring the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, sources said,” Fischer wrote in his latest offseason report. “Multiple executives from those teams, when contacted by B/R, mentioned their excitement at incorporating Simmons as a play-making forward—not at the point guard position he’s played in Philadelphia.
Raptors, Wolves, Cavs, Pacers and Kings have all showed interest in acquiring Ben Simmons, per B/R's @JakeLFischer
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 25, 2021
None of the five teams mentioned in Fischer’s report made the playoffs in 2021, which would give Simmons a completely fresh start in a place that will give him the opportunity to be a primary offensive option. That could be just what the young All-Star caliber player needs after the pressure-cooker environment he dealt with on the 76ers.
Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists, and 7.2 rebounds per game this past season, all of which were career lows. He struggled further under the bright lights of the NBA playoffs when he shot an abysmal 34 percent from the free throw line and showed hesitancy with the ball on offense.
Nevertheless, his play-making ability and defensive versatility will be enticing for the league’s teams that are most desperate for a star player. All of the five franchises mentioned in the latest report fit that bill, provided that one of them is able to offer the 76ers a strong enough trade package.
Earlier on Sunday, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski hinted that this will be a huge week for Simmons trade talks to ramp up. Time will tell if those discussions end with the former No. 1 overall pick on a new team.