When the Philadelphia 76ers made Ben Simmons available by request for a trade, the Sacramento Kings were one of the early suitors. At the time, the Kings were playoff-hopefuls as they imagined they could land Simmons to team up with De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
However, the Kings found out quickly that landing Simmons wasn't possible unless Fox or Haliburton were on the table. And even in that case, the Sixers might not be interested as they have their sights set on established All-Stars.
At this point in the year, the Kings are 18-29. They place 11th in the Western Conference and are roughly six games out from a playoff seed. There's a lot of basketball left to be played, but the Kings know they have to shake things up if they want a chance to make it to the postseason.
According to many reports, the Kings remain interested in Ben Simmons. Recently, it's been noted that the Kings are willing to discuss potential deals centered around Fox or Haliburton. While it seemed that a Simmons-Fox swap was possible earlier in the year, the Sixers aren't interested in the 24-year-old fifth-year veteran, according to a source close to the situation.
And Philadelphia might like Haliburton, but they aren't currently looking to take on a package that includes young players and picks. Knowing where Philadelphia stands, Sacramento suddenly became a candidate to explore a possible loophole in the Simmons saga.
Could Tobias Harris Change Everything?
Since the Kings can't receive Simmons in exchange for packages centered around Fox or Haliburton, Sam Amick of The Athletic recently speculated that the Kings could ponder the idea of taking on Simmons and Tobias Harris.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported by ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Marc Spears that the Sixers might be open to expanding their horizon when moving Simmons if Harris is involved in the deal.
While those rumors were initially linked to the Atlanta Hawks, the Kings are the team everybody has their eyes on when it comes to possibly exploring a deal for a Simmons, Harris-led package as they've been described as "desperate" to land Philadelphia's three-time All-Star.
The Kings could make an offer for Simmons and Harris, but the likelihood of Philadelphia's front office being convinced to pull the trigger is low. According to a source, the Sixers aren't interested in moving Harris at this time. While the idea of getting off of Harris' contract might sound intriguing to some, the Sixers remain committed to Harris and aren't currently shopping him around.
Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey mentioned during an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday that there are deals with the Kings that he thinks could work. However, he also noted that a Simmons trade would probably take at least three teams to get done.
The Kings shouldn't be ruled out entirely when it comes to the Simmons saga. But the idea of Sacramento landing last year's Defensive Player of the Year runner-up by getting Harris' hefty contract off of Philly's books is improbable at this time.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.