Skip to main content

Ben Simmons' time with the Philadelphia 76ers could soon come to an end. As the 25-year-old guard struggled in the second round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks this past postseason, it became clear the Sixers might need to search for another point guard to run the offense.

Sure, they could land a natural ball-handler and shift Simmons to the power forward position, but that might be just as much of a gamble as trading him at this point. A fresh start could be positive for both the Sixers and Simmons himself.

For the first offseason since he's joined the Sixers as the first pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons is on Philly's trade block. And while it seems the Sixers are motivated to do whatever it takes to get rid of Simmons, that's not necessarily the case.

Sure, the Sixers are willing to trade Simmons, but they made it very clear they won't give him away for the sake of doing so. And as several NBA teams leak ridiculous prices they were demanded for Simmons' services, one thing became clear; the Sixers are just playing games until their true target becomes available.

Read More

According to Derek Bodner of The Athletic, the Sixers' offseason plan isn't centered around finding a way to trade Simmons away to get a fresh start. It's more about landing Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard to pair him up with Joel Embiid. Of course, in order for the Sixers to make a Lillard-Embiid pairing happen, it will cost them Simmons and more.

"From the very start of Morey’s tenure in Philadelphia the organization was almost singularly focused on monitoring the James Harden situation in Houston, according to sources both inside and out of the organization. Since the Sixers’ season ended the team has similarly kept a watchful eye on the status of Lillard in Portland. From the Sixers’ perspective, it would be fair to say the goal is less to trade Ben Simmons and more to acquire Damian Lillard."

Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is a star hunter. After he landed former MVP James Harden during his time with the Houston Rockets, Morey traded for stars and also traded away stars to help put Harden and the Rockets in a better position to succeed. 

Now, he's willing to do the same for Embiid and the Sixers. After seeing the Simmons-Embiid duo fail in the postseason for the third time in four years, Morey is attempting to make a significant change.

With Lillard potentially joining the trade market, he'll be the most notable star available playing the Sixers' biggest position of need. 

Considering they have the assets to make a respectable offer to land Lillard from Portland, Morey will more than likely be at the front of the line for the Lillard sweepstakes -- and he'll be more than willing to package Simmons as the headliner of the deal as he will do what it takes to make notable improvements before the 2021-2022 season begins. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.