A source from the Philadelphia 76ers said that there is a list of about 30 NBA players who the team is willing to swap for Ben Simmons.
Is the Ben Simmons trade happening soon?
The short answer is no, but the long answer is that the impending deal is already taking shape.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick detailed how Sixers president Daryl Morey remains adamant that Simmons must be traded for an elite player of the same caliber.
That much was known, but what became even more clear on Thursday is the names that dot the 30-person internal list that the 76ers have made of desirable trade candidates for Simmons.
Near the top of the list are Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden, and Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal.
While these names may seem out-of-reach, there is the internal belief in Philadelphia that 5-10 of the names on the list could become available within the next year or two.
“This is like a multi-year thing,” a Sixers source told Amick.
Ben Simmons saga continues as 76ers reveal 30-person list of trade candidates
While 30 may seem a high number for potential trade candidates, it’s only six percent of the league, or the amount that makes the All-Star team every season.
Clearly players like Lillard, Harden and Beal are near the top, while others may rank lower for a variety of reasons. Even having Lillard and Harden rank high is surprising, as Harden went to the Nets over the 76ers in January and Lillard has spoken at length about how he does not want to leave Portland.
For now, like Simmons, all NBA fans can do is wait until a deal materializes. It paints a complicated picture for Simmons, who maintains that he does not want to play for the team as long as his mental health issues are not addressed.
The mental health situation is the latest in the back-and-forth between the parties, but the bottom line remains that Simmons is unwilling to play in Philadelphia anymore, a feeling that is now negatively affecting his well-being.
As emotionally difficult as the situation is for Simmons, the financial aspect of the saga means that Simmons will stay until the 76ers can get someone to replace him — but that is going to take years.