To no surprise, Stein immediately touched on the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons saga, predicting there could be a scenario where the Sixers give up on their dream targets of Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal and look to settle for a player out of Toronto.
Ben Simmons has done everything in his power to try and force the Sixers' hand at this point. He demanded a trade, which didn't generate the interest that the Sixers' front office desired. Simmons threatened to hold out from training camp, and the 76ers continued to make it clear they wanted him to show up at some point.
The three-time All-Star was a no-show for weeks and didn't return to Philly until the Sixers' third preseason game. He reiterated to the team he didn't want to play for them. The Sixers expected him to be back at practice on Sunday.
Simmons showed up to practice for the last few days but was disengaged and unwilling to participate in everything. At this point, he's suspended for one game after refusing to join a defensive drill on Tuesday.
Will that get him what he wants? Not exactly. Right now, the Sixers are far from ready to blink in the staredown. The door for Simmons' return to the team remains open, and the chances of him getting moved anytime soon seem slim.
How long will the standoff last? Stein predicts it could end once the Sixers realize that Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal aren't leaving their respective organizations. Therefore, the Sixers could then pivot to making a move for Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby.
"Of the teams that have been consistently linked to Simmons since Philadelphia's second-round flameout last season, Toronto stands out as the most intriguing suitor."
"The draft compensation involved in any eventual Simmons trade figures to be a difference-making variable, but the Raptors have the base talent to outbid numerous teams (if they choose) when Philadelphia finally reaches the point that it concedes it is no longer tenable to hold out for a star on Lillard's or Beal's level. Rather than pursue a swap centered around Pascal Siakam, it is easier to see Philadelphia trying to push to acquire a rising star capable of replicating Simmons' versatility — namely OG Anunoby — who can be packaged with a playoff-tested veteran ballhandler to give the Sixers' backcourt a needed boost (Goran Dragić)."
The Sixers would be shelling out a 25-year-old All-Star for a 24-year-old rising star. Through his first two seasons in the NBA, Anunoby averaged just over five points per game. Over his last two seasons, he put up 12 points per game and averaged nearly 40-percent from beyond the arc.
Last season was Anunoby's best yet. He knocked down nearly 50-percent of his shots from the field and hit on a career-high of 40-percent from three while putting up 15 points per game. He could be a solid shooter to surround Joel Embiid with if the Sixers landed a package headlined by Anunoby.
Although Stein predicts the Sixers might look into that type of deal, he has doubts about Toronto's willingness to trade the young forward. "Simmons' tumultuous first week back with the Sixers hasn't exactly enhanced his punctured trade value," Stein wrote. "And word is that Masai Ujiri, Morey's Toronto counterpart, 'loves' Anunoby, who is poised to take a major step in the post-Kyle Lowry era given the potential he has already flashed as a defender, playmaker, and shooter."
The Sixers might have to bite the bullet and settle for less than what they originally wanted in a deal for Ben Simmons. However, as Simmons' antics over the past week shine bright, his trade value continues to diminish, making it hard for the 25-year-old disgruntled star to get what he wants.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.