Following an extremely disappointing offensive showing by Ben Simmons in the second round of the playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers have a lot of thinking to do ahead of next season. Although Simmons achieved another All-Star nod this season for his regular-season progress and was even a runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award, his offensive limitations held the team back when it mattered the most.
The Sixers believed they were championship contenders this season. Although they locked up the first seed in the Eastern Conference and won their first-round series in five games, the Sixers fell short to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the second round.
Ben Simmons, who averaged less than 10 points per game in the entire series, took just four shots in the team's do-or-die matchup. In addition to his lack of scoring, Simmons' struggles from the free-throw line hurt the Sixers all throughout the postseason run this year.
At this point, his future in Philadelphia is unclear. As the Sixers failed to get past the second round once again, a significant change could be necessary, and if it does come down to picking between building around Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons, it's apparent at this point the latter becomes the odd-man-out in Philly.
However, neither the Sixers nor Simmons seem to be in a rush for a change. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons' agent has met with Sixers' President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey and General Manager Elton Brand to discuss the All-Star's future. Per Wojnarowski's report, both parties will practice patience as the offseason progresses.
"Paul met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons' Sixers career, sources said. Paul engaged the Sixers on whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the sides are expected to continue talking ahead of the July 29 NBA draft and August free agency, sources said."
Following the Game 7 defeat, Simmons made it clear that he would like to remain in Philly beyond this season. 76ers head coach Doc Rivers mentioned he remains "bullish" on Ben Simmons and looks forward to working with him this summer to help further the young veteran improve his game, starting with his free throw shooting.
Despite Philly's reluctance to deal Simmons, NBA front offices are keeping a close eye on the situation and preparing packages for a possible trade, per Wojnarowski. However, it seems the Sixers aren't anywhere close to making a decision just yet.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.