One of the biggest questions facing any NBA team this offseason centers around Ben Simmons’ future with the Philadelphia 76ers. Following a playoff meltdown in which Simmons struggled mightily in a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinal loss to the Atlanta Hawks, calls are louder than ever for the two sides to part ways.
Philly is taking a more pragmatic approach to Simmons’ offseason. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey did not make a definitive statement about the All-Star point forward’s future, saying that while “none of us can predict the future of what’s going to happen,” they “love” what Simmons brings to the table.
Still, the team is in a position where due diligence is required, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Morey and general manager Elton Brand met with Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, to discuss the future.
Paul engaged the Sixers on whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the sides are expected to continue talking ahead of the July 29 NBA draft and August free agency, sources said.
Teams have been using the Chicago pre-draft camp to gauge the Sixers’ interest in trade packages, sources said, although Philadelphia remains reluctant to break up the tandem of Joel Embiid and Simmons without maximizing a return and exhausting all possibilities to improve Simmons’ offense, sources said.
Simmons, who is signed through the next four seasons and is owed approximately $147 million, played well in the team’s first round win over the Washington Wizards, but looked like a shell of himself against the Hawks. Simmons averaged 9.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals against Atlanta while shooting 60 percent from the field. His most prominent issue was his free throw shooting, as he connected on 33.3 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe.