Here we go again: trade rumors for Ben Simmons have returned

But can the Sixers get a superstar, or even a star at all in return?


Photo courtesy of

Simmons in September 2021

Aaron Rigby, Sports Writer

Philadelphia 76ers “star” Ben Simmons is back in the headlines and could be traded at any moment within the next couple of days. 

From the Nets to the Spurs, there have been rumors around the league that teams have been considering trading for Ben Simmons, but they have their limits. Teams are not willing to give up their superstars for a player who is yet to prove himself in the playoffs when it matters.  

The rumors started back up when The Athletic, a subscription-based sports news website published an article titled “Inside the Trail Blazers firing of GM Neil Olshey and what comes next with the franchise cornerstone Damian Lillard”. This article’s central ideas revolved around how the Blazers can go forward with their franchise while keeping Lillard happy so that he doesn’t get frustrated to the point where he asks out.  If you scroll far down enough on the article, you will find a small paragraph that turned out to include one of the biggest takeaways out of the entire story.  

According to the article, The Athletic has been told by multiple sources that Lillard would “like” to play with Sixers three-time all star Ben Simmons. Additionally, the next paragraph states that sources say under Olshey, who is now the former GM of the Blazers, discussed what a potential trade for Simmons would look like — potentially moving names such as CJ McCollum, Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons, and a first-round pick to Philly.  

The Sixers reportedly once asked for McCollum and multiple draft picks and swaps, which was rejected by Portland. Though this happened under the former GM, if Portland thought of this as too big of an asking price for Ben, I can’t see a world where the Sixers ask for Lillard and the trade goes through.  

Since this summer, Sixers fans have been dreaming and salivating over the idea of Lillard in a Sixers uniform, forming what would be one of the league’s most dominant duos in Joel Embiid and Lillard. Though, it doesn’t seem that Lillard and the Blazers are going to part ways any time soon, as Lillard has been vocal as these rumors have been circulating. One fan tweeted, asking when people will stop reporting on things if Dame didn’t say it himself.  Lillard replied to the tweet saying, “these ]expletives] love drama too much.” And still, even though Lillard has openly stated that he wants to stay loyal and finish his career in Portland, rumors will not die down until a move is made.  

Other names that have been thrown into the Ben Simmons sweepstakes have been Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, who has not been fitting in too well on his new team the Los Angeles Lakers.  

It’s no secret that if Brooklyn wants to be real contenders against teams like Milwaukee and Miami, they are going to need a third star, which is something that they kind of already have.  The problem is, that potential third star, Kyrie Irving, is not vaccinated in a city that requires players to be vaccinated to play home games. After Irving’s relentlessness to not get vaccinated, the Nets front office decided to bench him from all basketball activities, including practices, film sessions, and all games, including away games (he only recently returned, on January 5, in a surprise reversal of the Nets policy, citing “roster” issues as the reason). 

Even though there is a gigantic skill gap between Irving and Simmons, this is not a far-fetched trade, simply because of the fact that the Nets in return would get someone who could actually play for the team at all times.  

The Russell Westbrook trade is not a crazy idea either.  Westbrook has seemingly not exactly fit in well with the team, which was expected by many fans.  But I don’t think this trade would ever be proposed or happen, simply because Westbrook does not fit but Ben and Russell are really similar in play style.  They both are great play makers, they’re both quick, they can rebound and drive the ball to the hoop when needed. They can also both make really dumb decisions and turnovers at times.

Westbrook just joined the Lakers this offseason, and the season is only one-third way completed. Historically, newly-constructed LeBron James teams have taken time to work. In 2011, James joined the Miami Heat and formed a big-3 super-team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The first year they made the finals and faced the Dallas Mavericks and shockingly lost in six games. The Heat went on to win back to back championships before losing to the Spurs in 2014, which led to James returning to Cleveland in 2015.  

Or when James joined the Lakers in 2019, and they didn’t make the playoffs until the following year when the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis, which helped them win it all that same year.  

So, Ben Simmons could potentially be traded at any moment within the next couple of weeks.  Though I think chances are slim since Daryl Morey has a history of asking for too much in return for Ben Simmons. He has been asking for top 10 players in return such as Lillard, Irving and Bradley Beal when the Sixers would be lucky to get a player like CJ McCollum or Buddy Hield — only because there is a huge skill gap, but because of the baggage that comes with acquiring Ben, the social media influence and having to deal with his lack of confidence and leadership.  

Regardless of what trade the Sixers may manage to pull off, I think it’s highly unlikely that it would make them legitimate contenders, and if that is what they want to be, they are going to need to move way more other pieces besides Ben Simmons.