The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly becoming more active in trade talks to move Ben Simmons and are looking to set up two or three-team deals to land a top 25 level player. The Sixers reportedly have a list of 30 players that were being targeted. For now, one player is definitely off the list.
According to ESPN’s top NBA insider, Adrian Wojnarowski, Damian Lillard is unavailable. New interim general manager Joe Cronin plans to execute the franchise’s goals of building around their All-Star.
Lillard has repeatedly expressed his commitment to want to remain in Portland on his current long-term contract, and interim GM Joe Cronin has also expressed a strong commitment to continue building the franchise around the All-NBA guard.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 10, 2021
Instead, the Blazers tried to discuss another deal that included possibly moving guard CJ McCollum instead but were quickly rebuffed.
Simmons has not suited up to play for the Sixers this season after requesting a trade shortly after last year’s playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Then after initially refusing to show up for training camp and being fined, he told the team he did not feel mentally ready to play. The Sixers, however, continued to fine Simmons at times throughout this period while refusing any deal that they believed would be a fair return. A hard stance that Philly executive Daryl Morey stated could go on for a long time.
What is being factored in all of the potential Simmons trade talks is the options Philly has on Wednesday. As of December 15, free agents who signed new contracts over the summer are considered eligible to be traded. All told, that’s an additional 106 players or almost 25 percent of the league. According to ESPN, 84 percent of the 446 players are eligible. This potential flexibility explains why Morey and the Sixers were content to play the waiting game.