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76ers reportedly still engaged with teams in Ben Simmons trade talks, nothing close

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes breaks down the mindset he sees in Ben Simmons' decision to return to the Philadelphia 76ers and explains the team's approach to trade talks around Simmons.

The best sign that there is no real movement on the Ben Simmons trade front? Simmons reported to the 76ers. If his holdout were working, if there were active trade talks, he would still be away from the team.

That doesn’t mean Simmons will suit up and play for the 76ers, that remains unknown, although coach Doc Rivers said he expects it (when that would happen is another issue, Simmons did miss camp).

“I’m assuming he’s going to play,” Rivers said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia, “but who knows, right? I don’t know. I can’t get in anyone’s head.”

None of this means the trade waters are completely still — and that there are not media reports trying to keep discussion of trade talks alive (yes, we get the irony). The latest comes from Jake Fischer at Bleacher Report, just be sure to take all the reports of teams being interested with a grain of salt... or a whole box of Malden sea salt flakes.

Philadelphia’s loftier sights remain set on 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 December 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’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.

There is a 10th “mystery” franchise that has held substantial trade conversations with Philadelphia of late, sources told B/R, yet it remains unclear, even to members of Klutch Sports, who this purported additional suitor is. No team, however, has come near Morey and the Sixers’ firm asking price for Simmons.

That “mystery team” is not the Nets, there is no Simmons for Kyrie Irving trade happening.

Trade talks around the league for Simmons remain stagnant, sources tell NBC Sports. Something has to change the dynamic. There are many ways that can happen, or it could be a combination of things, including:

• Ben Simmons plays well and raises his trade value.
• A playoff/contending team suffers an injury and decides to get Simmons as a replacement.
• A team gets off to a slow start and decides it needs to make a bold move.
• As mentioned by Fischer, Dec. 15 comes, and more interesting players enter the trade market, improving offers for Simmons.
• A disgruntled superstar pushes to get off his current team, and that becomes a Simmons trade. Much of that focus has been on Lillard and Beal — neither of whom are pushing for a trade right now and may not until next offseason, if ever — but there is buzz around the league about other unhappy stars who could try to force their way to a new team.

The bottom line is that Simmons will get traded, just likely not soon. This is going to drag out.

Which means the Simmons soap opera is far from over.