The primary motivation for Ben Simmons‘ trade demand and holdout is to steer him to a team that would build around him on offense, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. O’Connor’s story comes on the heels of a Tuesday report which suggested that Simmons no longer wants to play with Joel Embiid, whose style of play isn’t considered conducive to the way Simmons wants to play on offense.
However, according to O’Connor’s sources, Simmons didn’t make it clear during his August meeting with the Sixers‘ brass that his offensive role was a major problem. During that meeting, O’Connor says, head coach Doc Rivers outlined a plan to stagger Simmons’ and Emibiid’s minutes more often, frequently using Simmons more like the Bucks use Giannis Antetokounmpo, with four shooters around him. It sounds as if the three-time All-Star wasn’t enthused by the team’s pitch.
League sources tell The Ringer that the Rockets planned on building their system around Simmons if they had taken the Sixers’ trade offer for James Harden last season, but obviously that didn’t come to fruition. It’s unclear whether any of Simmons’ current suitors are prepared to provide him with the offensive environment he’s looking for — O’Connor suggests that the Kings might be the best candidate to do so.
Here’s more on the Simmons situation:
- O’Connor acknowledges that things can change quickly, but said that as of Tuesday, league sources didn’t get the sense that the Sixers were close to trading Simmons. As O’Connor notes, with Philadelphia not especially interested in packages heavy on draft picks and prospects and so many veterans ineligible to be dealt until at least December 15, it could still be a while before the 76ers start getting offers they deem acceptable.
- Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link) has heard that the Sixers are targeting potential trade partners in the Western Conference.
- With Simmons unavailable, Tyrese Maxey has taken the reins as the lead point guard, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Rivers and the 76ers are prepared to try out some unconventional ball-handling options beyond Maxey. According to Mizell, Rivers said that Furkan Korkmaz and Georges Niang were “very effective” at bringing up the ball with the reserves on Tuesday.