The Cleveland Cavaliers were among five teams that showed initial interest in Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons. Over time, those rumors and talks behind the scenes faded without an explanation.
This week, it's becoming clear why teams such as the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, and the Cavs have backed away; Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey wants a lot.
In a recent mock draft put together by Zach Harper of The Athletic, an interesting nugget was included when discussing the Cavaliers and the third-overall pick. As the Cavaliers remain a team that could get involved in several trades on draft night, Harper re-visited the rumored trade talks between the Sixers and the Cavaliers regarding Ben Simmons.
"Rumors of Collin Sexton trades are swirling. Exploring better-balanced books in the future is happening. And even kicking around a potential Ben Simmons trade for Cleveland has been discussed, as it has with many teams. League sources said brief conversations between Cleveland and Philadelphia were explored, but an asking price of every young player the Cavs value plus multiple first-round picks in the future wasn’t something they’d consider."
To sum it up, the Sixers asked for several young valuable players and multiple first-round picks just to send Simmons himself to Cleveland. Considering the Cavaliers don't possess an All-Star player in his prime, it doesn't come as a surprise the Sixers set such a high asking price, requesting a haul of young players and picks in return for their multi-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year runner up.
At the end of the day, Morey knows exactly what he wants in return for Simmons. That's another star player in his prime to pair Joel Embiid up with. As Morey believes the Sixers could be championship contenders as early as next year, it doesn't make sense to set the timeline back a couple of years by acquiring young talent with little to no playoff experience.
Morey and the Sixers are going to shoot for the stars. Those stars being Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. As long as teams don't possess a player of their caliber, Morey is going to set the asking price so high that it's almost laughable for the other team to consider.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.