The NBA's trade deadline is less than a month away, which means that the Philadelphia 76ers have less than a month to trade Ben Simmons for reinforcements this season. Otherwise, the Sixers will have to wait until over the offseason to make a move with Simmons, who hasn't played in a single game for the team this season after requesting a trade last summer.
The Sixers have remained patient when it comes to finding a new home for the disgruntled All-Star, and there has been some speculation that Simmons would ultimately suit up for Philadelphia if he wasn't moved by the deadline. After all, he continues to be fined for every game and practice that he misses. However, that apparently won't be the case, as Simmons is "open" to sitting out the entirety of the season despite the fines, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
"I think the sense is, if it takes the entire season to trade him, if it takes all year for the Sixers to find a trade that's acceptable for them, he's prepared for that," Shelburne said of Simmons on Monday during an appearance on ESPN's NBA Today. You can see her full comments on the subject below:
The standoff between the Sixers and Simmons stretching into summer is a real possibility due to Philadelphia's high asking price, and the fact that the team isn't interested in rushing into a deal that compromises their long-term prospects just to put the situation behind them. Plus, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey might want to hold onto Simmons until the offseason in order to potentially try to execute a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets to land James Harden, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.
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One thing is for sure: the Sixers aren't facing any added pressure from their best player to get a deal done. All-Star center Joel Embiid recently made it clear that he's on board with Philadelphia's patient approach to relocating Simmons, and is content with the team's roster as currently constructed.
"When I look at where we are when we got most of the team in the lineup, especially me in the lineup, then we are 21-9," Embiid said following Philadelphia's recent victory over the Boston Celtics. "That's not bad. That's up there with the best records in the NBA. So, all that tells me is that we just got to stay healthy, keep doing what we've been doing.
"I feel pretty good, and I don't think we've played our best basketball yet. We still got a long way to go. We're missing guys here and there that could really help us. There's really no urgency to change anything. I think we got everything we need. We're gonna keep on going and I'm happy."
Embiid isn't putting any public pressure on the organization to make a move involving Simmons prior to the NBA's trade deadline on Feb. 10, and he hasn't done so behind closed doors, either, according to a league source. If Embiid came out and requested additional help, maybe Philadelphia's front office would feel compelled to take the best available offer prior to the deadline, but that isn't the case.
Perhaps a trade that the Sixers find attractive enough will materialize prior to the deadline. If not though, both sides seem content to let this thing ride out until the summer.