The Ben Simmons saga has dragged on for more than seven months, but it's finally come to an end.
The Philadelphia 76ers finally made the move to send away their disgruntled star, trading him to the Brooklyn Nets right before the Feb. 10 deadline after what seemed like weeks of discussions between both sides.
The deal is finally done, but there has been no shortage of rumors and reports leading up to this trade, but it can be tough to keep track of them all. Worry not, we're here to help. Below is a chronological list of all the most pertinent Simmons-related news that has led to this blockbuster deal.
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The Brooklyn Nets are trading James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Philadelphia's interest in Harden extends back to last season, when his former general manager, Daryl Morey, attempted to acquire him from their former employer, the Houston Rockets. He failed then, but finally managed to land his man the second time around.
Nets, 76ers trending toward Harden-for-Simmons deal
The Nets and 76ers are "in the deal zone," according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst on Wednesday -- one day before the NBA's Feb. 10 trade deadline. The exact parameters are unknown for a Ben Simmons-for-James Harden swap, but according to Windhorst, the two sides are trending toward a deal and the 76ers are exploring ancillary moves, including role players like Tobias Harris in order to get the roster ready for Harden's addition. The Nets still reportedly want 2-3 more pieces in addition to Simmons, according to Windhorst, and the 76ers would still prefer not to give those away, but for now, it seems as though the two teams have finally seen the light and are working towards an agreement.
Feb. 4 -- Well, perhaps Simmons will be traded before the deadline after all. With less than a week to go, it seemed as though the Sixers would settle the Simmons saga in the summer. But on Friday, a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic arrived out of nowhere indicating that the Brooklyn Nets are open to discussing a deal involving James Harden right now, rather than in the offseason.
The Nets are currently on a six-game losing streak and have dropped to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Durant is sidelined until after the All-Star break with a knee injury, Joe Harris might miss the rest of the season with an ankle problem, Kyrie Irving can only play in road games and Harden is reportedly disgruntled. At the very least, the Nets appear to be thinking about major changes.
Feb. 1 -- Ben Simmons and the 76ers remain at an impasse, but they'll meet again if he's not dealt by the Feb. 10 trade deadline, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Simmons has reportedly been fined more than $19 million this season and stands to lose another $12 million if he sits out for all of it. "We don't give a f--- about the money," a source close to Simmons told ESPN.
Is there any situation in which Simmons would play for Philadelphia again? ESPN reports that his stance hasn't changed: He is not mentally ready to play now, and he will never be ready to return to the Sixers. If he hadn't been kicked out of practice on Oct. 19, he would have had to speak to reporters, at which point he reportedly would have said something like: "I'm not in a great place mentally. I don't feel comfortable playing in this environment and I'm looking forward to a change of scenery."
Jan. 28 -- Despite having exploratory talks with the Kings a couple of weeks ago, Sacramento has ended its pursuit of Simmons, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Kings think the 76ers are asking for too much in return for the three-time All-Star, and don't see a path toward an agreement between the two sides. With just under two weeks to the trade deadline, it doesn't appear as though a deal for Simmons has materialized. This means that the earlier reports suggesting that Daryl Morey and the rest of Philly's front office are fine waiting until the offseason are increasingly true. However, according to Wojnarowski, the Sixers still do feel like there's a "potential avenue" to get something done before the deadline.
Jan. 24 -- The trade deadline is a bit more than two weeks away, and Ben Simmons remains with the 76ers. He might also be on Philly's roster after Feb. 10 as well. The 76ers are not satisfied with who's currently available on the trade market and prefer to wait until the offseason to chase a bigger prize, per The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick, and confirmed by CBS Sports' Bill Reiter.
Although Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and Jaylen Brown remain on the Sixers' radar, they are reportedly retaining some optimism that it can finally land James Harden, who's currently a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Landing Harden could be complicated via trade, but according to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, the former league MVP is at least interested in exploring other options outside of the Nets when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Jan. 20 -- A Ben Simmons trade before the Feb. 10 deadline is "less likely than likely," 76ers president Daryl Morey said on 97.5 The Fanatic's "The Mike Missanelli Show" Thursday. The interview ran for more than 25 minutes, with Morey reiterating that he feels Simmons could play for the Sixers again.
"I think it's less likely than likely," Morey said. "But hopefully I'm wrong. Like, look, it won't be from lack of trying. We have a whole team of front-office (people). It's all we do. We have no other job that matters. It's all we're working on."
Jan. 17 -- Disgruntled guard Ben Simmons has yet to suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, and the Sixers have yet to find a suitable trade partner who would give them the package they're seeking. It's been reported that Simmons is willing to sit out the remainder of the season if he's not traded by the Feb. 10 deadline, which could be a real possibility if Philly doesn't lower its asking price for Simmons or find a team willing to give the Sixers everything they want. The Sixers are reportedly asking for an All-Star caliber player in return for Simmons, in addition to first-round picks. There are vey few teams in the league who would -- or are able to -- offer that, which means a deal for Simmons could evolve into a multi-team transaction.
It's already been reported that the Sixers have no interest in a trade that would send Russell Westbrook to the Sixers in exchange for Simmons, and other teams around the league are trying their best to offer a deal that would grab the attention of Sixers president Daryl Morey. Right now, though, nothing has materialized.
Jan. 14 -- The NBA trade deadline is getting closer, and one name that had popped up recently as being potentially available in trade talks was Sacramento Kings star guard De'Aaron Fox. The Kings have received a lot of interest in Fox in recent days, and one team that has reached out to Sacramento is the Philadelphia 76ers, who also have a big-name player they're actively shopping in Ben Simmons. Simmons has yet to play in a game for the Sixers this season after requesting a trade over the summer.
The Sixers and Kings recently discussed a trade involving Simmons and Fox in an exploratory manner, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. However, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported later the Kings plan to keep Fox past the deadline.
Jan. 12 -- As the Philadelphia 76ers continue to keep their options open when it comes to finding a suitable trade for disgruntled All-Star forward Ben Simmons, one potential blockbuster deal appears to be ruled out. The Sixers have no interest in sending Simmons to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Sixers president Daryl Morey already traded for Westbrook once when he served as the general manager of the Houston Rockets, and he won't be interested in doing so again.
Jan. 12 -- Things have been rather quiet on the Ben Simmons front in recent weeks, as COVID-19 dominated the news and Joel Embiid put the Philadelphia 76ers on his back. But as the Feb. 10 trade deadline approaches, the focus is starting to shift back to Simmons, who has still not played this season.
Little has changed in regards to the key points: Simmons does not want to play for the Sixers; Philly is only interested in trading him if it can get an All-Star-caliber player in return; opposing teams have thus far not been willing to meet the Sixers' valuation. Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, recently met with team president Daryl Morey and GM Elton Brand to discuss the stalemate but there was no significant progress made, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Jan. 11 -- As the Ben Simmons drama has died down in public, with everyone pretty much expecting and accepting his absence, nothing has changed behind the scenes. The Philadelphia 76ers want to trade him -- and eventually almost certainly will trade him -- but they have no intention, at least for now, of doing so on anyone's terms but their own.
They want an All-Star in return. So far, no one is offering. As a result, the Sixers apparently would like to attach Tobias Harris to potential Simmons deals so they can get off that albatross of a contract as well, as reported by Marc Spears of The Undefeated and confirmed by ESPN insider Brian Windhorst.
Jan. 7 -- The Philadelphia 76ers continue to scour the market for a suitable trade for disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons. One team to keep an eye on when it comes to a potential trade is the Atlanta Hawks, who have recently emerged as a suitor for Simmons, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein. A trade package for the Hawks could potentially center around John Collins and Cam Reddish, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. Collins has reportedly grown frustrated with his decrease in touches over the past few seasons, but signed a five-year $125 million deal in restricted free agency this past summer. (Note: Atlanta ended up trading Reddish to the Knicks.)
Dec. 13 -- Whether Ben Simmons is in the right space to suit up for the Sixers or not, it's unclear if he'll ever play another game for the team as a trade seems much more likely. Back in October, Daryl Morey said the franchise is adamant on waiting for the right trade package to come along before they deal Simmons, something that could take awhile to actually materialize as there's been no serious traction on that front. However, there have been several new teams added to the Simmons sweepstakes, with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks among those interested in the defensive-minded guard, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.
The Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers are teams that also remain interested as the Sixers are eyeing multi-team trade options in an effort to get the best deal for Simmons. The asking price for the three-time All-Star reportedly remains the same: Philly wants an All-Star caliber player and/or several first-round draft picks in exchange for Simmons, but no one has met that requirement for the Sixers.
Dec. 10 -- After a few weeks of silence, trade talks involving the Philadelphia 76ers' All-Star guard have been gaining steam in recent days, and three-team deals are on the table, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
Simmons has not played for the Sixers this season after requesting a trade and initially refusing to show up for training camp. He has since reported to Philadelphia but has told the team he does not feel mentally ready to play. The Sixers, who have been fining Simmons at various points throughout this process, have thus far refused any deals as they attempt to acquire what they feel would be a fair return. Daryl Morey has stated publicly that he won't feel any pressure to move Simmons and is willing to wait years, if necessary, to find the right deal.
Dec. 7 -- If the Philadelphia 76ers are going to trade Ben Simmons for anybody on the Portland Trail Blazers, it's going to be Damian Lillard. The possibility of the Sixers settling for a Simmons-for-CJ McCollum swap has been floated consistently -- and a previous report that suggested Lillard wanted to play with Simmons pushed such speculation into overdrive -- but as of now, that's not going to happen.
The Sixers haven't spoken to Portland in recent weeks, and the team isn't currently interested in McCollum as the centerpiece of a return in a trade for Simmons, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBS Sports. Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice first reported on the Sixers' stance regarding McCollum on Monday night. The Sixers will continue to keep their options open leading up to the trade deadline on Feb. 10.