A giant bus just ran over Ben Simmons in the City of Brotherly Love.
You rarely see a group completely tear down a teammate after a loss like the Philadelphia 76ers did with Simmons following Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Joel Embiid was speaking about a specific play in the fourth quarter when Simmons passed up a layup and instead passed to Matisse Thybulle who was fouled. Thybulle only made one of two from the line.
If the Embiid clip didn't spark controversy, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers' postgame comments surely did.
Is reconciliation even a possibility at this point?
To say the 24-year-old struggled in the Sixers’ second-round loss to the Hawks is an understatement. In the finale, he scored just five points on 2-of-4 shooting, although he added 13 assists and eight rebounds.
Where do Daryl Morey and the 76ers brass go from here? Can they even consider bringing Simmons back after both Rivers and Embiid publicly called him out following the loss?
Moreover, should the Kings put in a bid if he is made available?
Simmons always has been slightly flawed as a player. He stuffs the stat sheet like few others, but he refuses to shoot 3-pointers and his free throw shooting in the playoffs was reminiscent of Nick Anderson’s unraveling in the 1995 NBA Finals.
Simmons just finished the first year of a max-money, five-year, $169.65 million contract, and still has more than $140 million remaining on the deal. His salary jumps to $31.6 million next season and only goes up from there.
While Simmons has played point guard for the last few seasons in Philly, he’s listed at 6-foot-10 and can play almost every position on the floor.
The Kings aren’t giving up De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a swap for Simmons, but they should at least see what the asking price is.
On paper, Simmons is not a great fit in Sacramento. His inability to space the floor and create running lanes for Fox would be an issue. But what if you look past that issue?
Simmons finished this year averaging 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. In four NBA seasons (he missed his rookie year with a foot injury), Simmons has made three All-Star teams and been named to the NBA’s first-team All-Defensive squad in each of the last two seasons.
Could Fox, Haliburton and Simmons co-exist? It’s a conversation worth having.
Simmons clearly needs a fresh start. He isn’t an elite scorer and he has to improve both his 3-point and free throw numbers, but would instantly become the Kings’ best defender and most versatile player. He’s owed a tremendous amount of money, but Sacramento would have to send back players to make the cap situation work either way.
Kings GM Monte McNair has a close relationship with Daryl Morey after spending years together in Houston. It’s highly likely that the two have had conversations on a myriad of ideas.
Could a package that includes Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley, along with a first-round pick or two work to land Simmons? Would Hield, point guard Delon Wright and a first-round pick do the trick?
Hield is the type of elite 3-point shooter that the Sixers desperately need to space the floor around Embiid. Bagley is a young big man with potential in need of his own restart. Wright is a veteran who could either start or come off the bench for Philly in a revamped lineup.
Even after the postseason collapse, Simmons is going to be a hot commodity if the Sixers make him available. Sacramento might not have the pieces to get Philly to bite, but there is no harm in trying.
After 15 straight seasons without a playoff appearance, gambling on a 24-year-old three-time All-Star is a no-brainer for the Kings. He has time to grow. He has the potential to improve on his deficiencies. Whether or not they have enough to win a bidding war would be the biggest question.
The fact is, the Kings need more talent. They need some defensive-minded players. They need to mix up the roster in a big way.
Simmons is better than any player the Kings are likely to land at the No. 9 overall pick. They have players who can fill a void left if Hield is offered up. They even have the depth to withstand losing Bagley or Wright.
If they can make another move to clear up some cap space to retain Richaun Holmes, a starting group of Fox, Haliburton, Simmons, Harrison Barnes and Holmes is intriguing, to say the least.
It’s at least worth a phone call.