The Sixers want to trade Ben Simmons. The three-time All-Star is more than on board with a change of scenery. While reports hinted that Simmons would like to land somewhere out in California, the veteran guard is now reportedly willing to work anywhere but Philadelphia next season.
For months now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been rumored suitors for Ben Simmons. As they are on the hunt for a game-changing star, Simmons could bring new life to the Cavs, who haven't been competitive since LeBron James packed up and moved out West to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
But there is a significant roadblock in the way. Being that Simmons is 25-years-old and on a multi-year deal, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is set on making sure Simmons' next organization meets his asking price, which is an expensive one, according to many reports.
For starters, the Sixers want an All-Star in return for Simmons. While Cleveland possesses Kevin Love, a five-time All-Star, the 76ers don't seem to have any interest in the 33-year-old forward. In fact, a Cavaliers insider recently reported that the Sixers would be more interested in another veteran with no All-Star appearances instead.
"While most Cavs fans are hoping the Sixers would take Kevin Love … forget about it (for now)," writes Sam Amico of HoopsWire. "If the Sixers needed a salary to make a Simmons deal work with the Cavs, they would be much more inclined to take back Ricky Rubio‘s expiring $17.8 million deal, sources said."
Rubio, a former fifth-overall pick, who was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves back in early August, is expected to suit up for the Cavaliers next season. Last year, he started in 51 of the 68 games he appeared in.
Averaging 26 minutes on the court, Rubio put up 8.6 points per game, draining 39-percent of his shots from the field and roughly 31-percent of his shots from beyond the arc. He also accounted for 6.4 assists per game with the T'Wolves.
The idea that the Sixers would prefer Rubio over Love as a veteran salary-filler in a potential Simmons deal makes plenty of sense. While Love has the better track record, his injury history in recent seasons would concern the Sixers. Plus, Philly doesn't have question marks surrounding the power forward position as they added Georges Niang to backup Tobias Harris.
Regardless of who the Sixers prefer between Love and Rubio, it doesn't change much on Philly's end. As Cleveland's biggest trade chips are Collin Sexton, who will need a new (and expensive) contract soon, and Darius Garland, who is reportedly off the table, it seems unlikely the Cavaliers will be the organization that nets Simmons unless they can find other teams to get involved.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.