The relationship between the Philadelphia 76ers and All-Star point guard Ben Simmons hit a breaking point earlier this week. A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that the 25-year-old won’t attend the Sixers’ upcoming training camp and intends to never play another game for the team.
A trade has long been what both parties expected would have to get done, but the importance of a deal for both sides has grown exponentially with the latest news. The 76ers currently risk having a three-time All-Star sit out without getting anything in return and Simmons is in danger of losing a substantial stack of change if he doesn’t suit up for games this season.
A handful of teams have been engaged on a deal for the former No. 1 overall pick since the end of the 2021 postseason, but Stephen A. Smith revealed a new piece of intel on Wednesday. He explained that the Portland Trail Blazers are internally discussing a trade package for Simmons that would include C.J. McCollum, Robert Covington and a “couple” of first-round picks.
“The Portland Trail Blazers, from what I’m told, obviously they’re talking about C.J. McCollum, they’re talking about Robert Covington, they’re talking about a couple of first-round picks,” Smith said on First Take Wednesday. “They don’t want to put it out there, because you don’t want to alienate C.J. McCollum in the event that you keep him, but nevertheless, it’s something that they’ve been willing to offer. The Sixers have not been willing to bite.”
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 22, 2021
The Blazers are an intriguing option for Simmons and a trade between Portland and Philadelphia could very well benefit both franchises. Simmons would give the Trail Blazers an elite defensive player, something that they’ve lacked as of late, and another top-tier play-maker to pair alongside Damian Lillard. The 76ers would get out of the current mess they’re in and land another perimeter scorer in McCollum, a plus defender and three-point shooter in Covington and draft capital to use in the future.
The Blazers haven’t been the only team engaged with the Sixers front office in trade talks for Simmons. Other clubs like the Sacramento Kings, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cleveland Cavaliers and others have reportedly called to inquire about the three-time All-Star.
However, Portland might be able to make the most competitive offer to pry the former first-round pick out of Philadelphia.