Following the 2021 playoff run, Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons requested a trade. Although the Sixers didn’t intend to put Simmons on the trade block, his requests allowed them to explore potential deals.
From the jump, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey made it known that any team trading for Simmons would have to cough up an All-Star caliber player. Those who inquired mostly put together packages containing role players and picks, which didn’t move the needle for Morey.
Simmons held out from the team at the beginning of the season in hopes that would scare them into a trade. However, Sixers executives, coaches, and players made it clear that Simmons’ absence won’t force them to make any panic moves.
So far, Simmons has remained true to his holdout from playing as the guard has been ruled out due to “personal reasons” for 48 games. As the season continues, there is no return in sight for the veteran guard. The Sixers have until February 10 to trade him away. After that, they are stuck with him for the rest of the year.
Before the 2021-2022 NBA season started, Daryl Morey mentioned that he’s willing to keep the saga going for years if he doesn’t receive a trade for Simmons that improves Philly’s title chances. Last week, he reiterated that notion as the trade deadline inches closer.
Some would say that Morey’s statement on keeping Simmons beyond the trade deadline is nothing more than a bluff as he wants teams to up their offer. But NBA reporter Marc Stein claims that the widespread belief around the league is that Morey is serious.
"If Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey finds a deal he likes for Ben Simmons in the next 13 days, he will surprise an overwhelming majority of his peers. I can’t find a team out there these days that believes Morey is bluffing about keeping Simmons past the deadline."
Playing the waiting game was always the right move for the Sixers. Unless there was an overwhelming demand from players and coaches to resolve the situation sooner than later, Morey is making the right choice to wait for the right deal.
But from the beginning of the season, Sixers coaches and players, specifically Joel Embiid, supported Morey’s stance on the saga. While anything can happen between now and the deadline, the idea that Simmons remains a member of the Sixers for the rest of the season is becoming more of a reality as each day passes.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.