At this point in the NBA offseason, it seems it's a matter of when, not if, the Philadelphia 76ers trade away the 25-year-old Ben Simmons. As much as a Simmons trade feels like a guarantee, though, there's been some indication the Sixers are willing to keep the three-time All-Star beyond the offseason.
Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is making it clear that he wants an All-Star in his prime in return for Simmons -- and a package involving several role players and/or draft picks won't be enough to get something done.
So far, the Sixers haven't received that. And as Philly continues to field offers for Simmons that don't come close to meeting their asking price, it becomes even more evident that Sixers are willing to hold onto Simmons beyond the offseason as they're in no rush to trade him away.
According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, league executives "continue to mention the possibility of the Sixers holding onto Simmons, should a desirable offer still fail to arise during the draft." The Action Network's Matt Moore echoed a similar sentiment.
"There was talk that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey would be willing to start the season with Simmons to rehab his value before a midseason deal."
With Simmons coming off of a bad second-round performance in the playoffs, it's no secret his trade value is at a career-low. However, the Sixers aren't willing to let teams take advantage of Simmons' recent struggles and dictate their asking price.
While the league-wide belief is that Simmons will ultimately get traded somewhere before the 2021-2022 season begins, Morey seems more than willing to play hardball and keep the young All-Star if a desirable offer isn't on the table.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.