If you’re into drama, then following the enigmatic relationship between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons should fulfill all of your wildest dreams.
Over the last two weeks, we saw Simmons backtrack on his promise to never speak to 76ers brass while asking for a trade over the summer, return to team practice, get thrown out of said practice, and get suspended for the season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The 76ers have tried to deal Simmons for most of 2021, but underwhelming offers seem to be an indictment on what the league thinks of the 25-year-old that has an elite defensive game, but his offensive progression continues to be lacking.
Simmons revealed that he’s not mentally ready to suit up for the 76ers even after his one-game suspension ended, so it doesn’t seem like he’ll see the floor anytime soon. Should he hold out, 76ers president Daryl Morey admitted that this entire ordeal could twist and turn throughout the entirety of Simmons’ remaining contract, which is for four more years.
But NBA insider Marc Stein reports that Morey “is likely to wait until after Dec. 15 when more players are eligible to be dealt leaguewide before he pursues a deal with greater intent.”
A player who signs a new contract during the offseason is eligible to be traded on either Dec. 15 or three months after agreeing to that pact — whichever date comes later.
That’s vital for the 76ers in their pursuit of dealing Simmons and his average annual value of $33 million per season. A potential trade target with a new contract — as long as they didn’t sign a contract extension with raises larger than 5% annually or that is longer than three seasons — increases the chances of potentially matching salaries.
It will also open more avenues for Morey to pursue as the 76ers continue to maintain a high asking price for the All-Star point guard.