When the Philadelphia 76ers' 2021 playoff run concluded, the team found out its three-time All-Star point guard had grown disgruntled and requested a trade. Although the Sixers weren't eager to dish out Simmons, they explored the idea as several teams reached out with possible offers.
The Sacramento Kings were among those interested in Simmons. However, they weren't willing to meet Philly's President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey's asking price. As the Sixers wanted a deal centered around De'Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in return for Simmons, they received proposals that included Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley.
Clearly, that didn't move the needle. Fast forward to November, and Simmons remains an inactive member of the Sixers. As he's reportedly unprepared mentally to re-join his teammates on game night, Simmons continues to hold out hope for a trade.
However, the Sixers haven't received that home run offer they've been waiting for. Many speculated that a slow start for one of the previously inquiring teams could re-ignite talks during the season -- and the Sacramento Kings have become a team to pay attention to at this point.
Fourteen games into the 2021-2022 season, Sacramento is off to a 6-8 start. Considering the Kings have playoff expectations this season, their underwhelming start has left the organization uncertain about the head coach, Luke Walton, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
"With the Kings in the midst of a four-game losing streak heading into a Monday night game at Detroit, sources say the third-year coach's job status will likely be in peril soon if the current slide continues," Amick wrote on Monday morning.
In addition to Walton reportedly being on a short leash, there seems to be concern about Sacramento's backcourt, which includes notable names such as De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
"No issue has been more glaring than the struggles of franchise centerpiece De’Aaron Fox, who has had a major decline in production (25.2 points per game last season to 19.8 this season) and efficiency (47.7 percent overall to 41 this season; 32.2 percent from 3 to 23). His comfort level in the starting lineup with second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton is, it would seem, fast becoming an early concern." - Amick
When the Sixers had short-lived trade talks with Sacramento's front office, Daryl Morey reportedly made it clear that they wanted a package centered around De'Aaron Fox. As the Kings resisted, the 76ers had nothing left to negotiate.
Will the coaching concerns and player regressions cause the Kings to have a change of heart and consider moving one of their centerpieces for a three-time All-Star like Ben Simmons? It might be too early to make that call, but Sacramento's situation is surely something Morey and the Sixers will keep an eye on moving forward.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.