Report: Rockets among teams engaged with 76ers on Ben Simmons trade

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Houston Rockets are among nine NBA franchises that remain engaged in trade talks with the Philadelphia 76ers for disgruntled star Ben Simmons, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

After not reporting to the start of training camp due to his trade demand, Simmons is poised to rejoin the Sixers this week. However, the motives for that decision appear to be financial, with the 25-year-old not keen on missing any further contract payments. Ultimately, Simmons still wants to be moved, and it appears that talks will linger into the 2021-22 season.

As it pertains to the Rockets, Fischer reports:

Philadelphia’s most recent list of interested front offices, to varying degrees, still stands at nine known teams, sources said. In alphabetical order: Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, Minnesota, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and Toronto have all remained engaged with Philadelphia.

The Rockets famously passed on the opportunity to acquire Simmons when they traded James Harden to Brooklyn in January. However, it’s conceivable that Houston general manager Rafael Stone might be interested in a lower price point. The question is whether Daryl Morey — once Stone’s boss with the Rockets, and now the president of basketball operations in Philadelphia — will come down on his asking price.

Per Fischer, here’s what Morey is believed to be seeking in a trade:

Philadelphia’s loftier sights remain set on Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal possibly growing dissatisfied in Portland and Washington, respectively, sources said. A far larger pool of players also become trade-eligible on Dec. 15, then incorporating most of the newly-signed players from this past offseason. It seems the chances of any Simmons trade, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, will grow significantly larger in late December than anytime soon, barring any change in a rival team’s circumstances.

Philadelphia has informed most teams their best path to acquiring Simmons is in a three-team structure, sources said. The Cavaliers and Timberwolves, for example, have largely made pick-heavy overtures that Philadelphia has urged Cleveland and Minnesota to bring to teams with specific All-Star-caliber players the Sixers actually covet.

From Houston’s perspective, the rebuilding Rockets — who finished with the NBA’s worst record in 2020-21 — don’t have a star trade piece along the lines of Lillard or Beal that could help the 76ers accomplish their goal of significantly boosting their championship odds this season.

The Rockets do have a warchest of future draft assets, which could theoretically be used in a three-team scenario in which Philadelphia gets the veteran star, Houston acquires Simmons, and the third team lands those draft assets. But it seems clear that any offer from the Rockets built around picks would have its limits, since Stone already showed a clear preference earlier this year for Brooklyn’s draft package (over Simmons).

Thus, the most likely explanation is that Houston is interested, but at a lower price point. What happens if the Dec. 15 date passes, more players become trade eligible, and the offers still aren’t to Morey’s liking? What happens if Lillard and Beal remain off the market? What if the 76ers go on a losing streak, and the locker room chemistry with Simmons becomes combustible? Is there a scenario where a veteran leader, such as John Wall, might become desirable to Joel Embiid?

The odds are low, but considering that Simmons is a three-time All-Star and a force on the defensive end, there’s no harm to staying in touch.

Related

Kendrick Perkins sees John Wall as better fit for 76ers than Ben Simmons

Why the Rockets passed on Ben Simmons in James Harden trade talks

List

Houston Rockets 2021-22 regular-season schedule