NBA Trade Deadline: The Philadelphia 76ers Need to Quickly Reconsider Their ‘Growing’ Asking Price for Ben Simmons
It’s no secret the Philadelphia 76ers are trying to move franchise star Ben Simmons. The disgruntled point guard has sat out the entire 2021-22 season and will presumably continue his holdout as long as he remains a Sixer.
The February 10 trade deadline is inching closer, leaving Philadelphia just a few weeks to strike a deal. However, the team must re-examine how much Simmons is actually worth before time runs out.
The Philadelphia 76ers are good, but not great
With Simmons on the court, last year’s 76ers finished an Eastern Conference-best 49-23. This season, thanks to a recent seven-game winning streak, Philadelphia has gone from .500 to 23-17. It now sits fifth in the East, only 4.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls for the number one seed.
Yet on the whole, the Sixers haven’t screamed “championship caliber.”
Entering Thursday, Philadelphia’s offensive and defensive ratings are ranked 13th and 14th, respectively. The offense, which was once run by the point guard Simmons, is only scoring 107.2 points per game, the ninth-fewest in the NBA. Not to mention, the 76ers are only 13th in Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating System, which mixes average point differential and overall strength of schedule.
Not bad by any means. But compare it to last year’s team that had a top-10 defense and fifth-ranked SRS, and you’ll see where Simmons is missed.
Philly’s roster is still led by Joel Embiid, whose individual numbers should result in a fifth All-Star appearance. However, veteran Tobias Harris is marred in a shooting slump. With Harris now serving as the number two option, the team’s ceiling is simply limited.
Philly is increasing the asking price on Ben Simmons
The 76ers know the type of player a fully-engaged Simmons is. At only 25 years old, the 6-foot-11 facilitator has three All-Star appearances, two All-Defense recognitions, and an All-NBA honor since getting drafted first overall in 2016. Aside from a mostly-nonexistent jump shot, Simmons is still regarded as one of the top young players in basketball.
All of those reasons are why the Sixers are not hoping to trade away the star for pennies on the dollar.
According to the latest report by ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, there is no progress toward a Simmons resolution. The star guard remains uninterested in returning to the court anytime soon, while Philly’s asking price remains high. In fact, it’s getting even higher.
“The Sixers are targeting top 25-caliber players for trades, but those kinds of assets have yet to be made available to them in offers, sources said. Some teams have even described the Sixers’ asking price for a Simmons’ deal as growing in price — not declining, sources told ESPN.”Adrian Wojnarowski
In other words, as the trade deadline approaches, Philly is hoping for teams to come to them with a Godfather-like offer they simply cannot refuse.
The 76ers need to get realistic about Simmons
This recent seven-game winning streak has reinvigorated the Sixers. What was once a disappointing season has quickly turned a corner, even if the underlying numbers suggest they’re still closer to average than elite. Though they can really improve the second they cut the cord and move Simmons for anything.
The 25-year-old All-Star still has value. Quite a bit of it, actually. As we mentioned earlier, his numerous accolades paint the picture for what a team would be acquiring. But his value is never going to move up. In fact, every passing day makes Simmons less and less valuable, especially as he becomes further and further removed from his last NBA game.
Even if the Sixers are trying to increase their asking price on Simmons, teams are smart enough to know that ultimately, they hold the cards. After all, they’re not the ones saddled with a disgruntled star who has no interest in playing for their team again. They lose nothing by waiting it out, unlike a Philadelphia team that loses everything the second the clock strikes 3 p.m. Eastern on February 10.
Soon, the 76ers will need to realize the dream offer they’re holding out hope for will never come to fruition. Instead, they should lower the price, gain interest from multiple teams, and then create a bidding war amongst them. Philadelphia will then end up receiving players capable of winning now, while also ridding itself of the Simmons drama for good.
Ben Simmons is a great NBA player. But even if the Sixers treat these trade negotiations as if he’s only very good, they will still be far better off in the long run.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.