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Report: 76ers “targeting” Western Conference teams for Simmons trade

Michael Holley and Michael Smith react to Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers' comments on Ben Simmons at Philadelphia 76ers Media Day and discuss reports that Simmons doesn't want to play with Embiid.

Trade chatter around the 76ers Ben Simmons remains where it has for weeks — almost nonexistent — sources told NBC Sports. This week’s opening of training camps and Ben Simmons skipping media day and not reporting with the 76ers has yet to change that dynamic. Rosters are set, teams are moving forward, and the lowball offers on the table remain the only ones the 76ers have seen.

However, the Sixers are looking more at Western Conference teams for a trade, reports Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today.

That makes sense. Philadephia would rather have Simmons — an All-Star player and elite perimeter defender who impacts games — in a conference where they only see him a couple of times a season and they aren’t competing for playoff seedings against him.

But what team? Warriors ownership has made it clear they are likely out of the running (and got fined for it). The Sacramento Kings have long had interest but will not send De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a trade, and Buddy Hield/Marvin Bagley III will not get a deal done. Portland is not trading Damian Lillard (unless forced to) and that ends those talks. It’s nearly impossible to construct a trade that makes sense for both sides with the Lakers or Clippers rosters. Dallas is not a great fit, are they taking the ball out of Luka Doncic’s hands for a player without a jumper?

Minnesota remains active in seeking Simmons even after its front-office shake-up, new GM Sachin Gupta has a relationship with Sixers Gm Daryl Morey going back to Houston. That doesn’t make the offer any better (although it may be the best one on the table right now): The Timberwolves wisely will not include Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards in any deal, and they are reluctant to put D’Angelo Russell in one. The best offer is something like Russell, Jaden McDaniels, and a series of first-round picks. For a 76ers team that wants to contend right now with Joel Embiid in his prime, that offer is not near good enough (the drop-off from Simmons to Russell is steep, even if the fit is somewhat better). The Timberwolves would need to get a third team involved (and maybe four) to make the trade work.

So we sit, with the Simmons situation looking more like a siege — both the player and Philadelphia are prepared to be in this for the long haul. Both are waiting for the other side to blink.

Ideally, the 76ers would like to send Simmons to the West, but at this point, they will jump on the first legitimate offer to come their way.