The Sixers have been more than willing to part ways with their All-Star guard Ben Simmons. Meanwhile, Simmons has gone from wanting to return to Philly for another season to refusing to show up for training camp this month as he wants out.
Considering both parties are willing to move on, many expected a trade to happen sooner than later. But so far, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey hasn't found any deal worth making at this point.
All offseason long, the Sixers have kept their eyes on the Portland Trail Blazers. As many expected Damian Lillard to request a trade, the Sixers were likely willing to put together a strong package surrounding Ben Simmons to land the Portland star.
But at this point, Lillard's willing to give it another shot with the Blazers. With that, the Sixers haven't given up on landing a star and pivoting to taking a lesser return in exchange for Simmons. Instead, ESPN's NBA Insider Brian Windhorst suggests they'll pay close attention to Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards.
This week, Windhorst joined the Sixers Daily With Jas Kang Podcast on the Liberty Ballers Network to discuss the state of the Simmons saga. As everybody understands that Philly landing Lillard is nearly impossible at this point, Windhorst believes Beal becomes a potential option depending on how everything shakes out in October.
“I think a big thing for the Sixers fans to watch is the first week of October. Bradley Beal becomes eligible to sign an extension. There’s no short-term deadline on it, it’s not like a rookie extension, where you have to make the move by the end of October. He could theoretically sign an extension, June 30, 2022, but whether or not Beal signs that extension, I think as the season starts, and he hasn’t extended, I think that it frames the transaction game for the upcoming season. People are going to be watching like a hawk trying to pry Bradley Beal out and if he doesn’t extend, people are going to have their eyes on that and so if you’re the Sixers, unless somebody knocks you over with an offer, you’re probably waiting for that at the very least, just to see."
Ben Simmons for Bradley Beal? That would be a great swap for the Sixers. Unfortunately, if Beal does become available, it'll take more than the three-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year runner-up to land the star guard out of D.C.
Per Windhorst, a straight-up swap, Simmons for Beal, wouldn't work for Washington. Similar to the Dame Lillard situation, the Sixers would have to add another player, pick, or two to sweeten the pot for the elite scorer.
When discussing a potential Lillard trade, many have suggested the Sixers would have to part ways with a young player such as Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey along with Simmons to land the Portland star. If Beal is on the table, then the Sixers will more than likely be in the same boat if they want to land the 28-year-old All-Star.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.