Another day, another rumbling out of the Ben Simmons trade rumors file.
This time we turn to ESPN's NBA insider Brian Windhorst, who appeared on The Jump on Wednesday to discuss a number of basketball topics, and when Simmons' name came up he had some interesting information gathered from parties close to the situation:
"One of the messages that Ben has sent back towards Philly is that it's not his job to fix his trade value. It's not his job to correct his trade value or raise his trade value. That is not something that is on the menu for him.
"With that out there, I'm not covinced he's interested in coming in and trying to change the situation.
"And one thing that I think is interesting is that, his contract is structured in a way that he's going to get half of his money by October 1 - $16.5 million of his $33 million comes before he has to worry about getting fined a single dime, 41 of his games. So he's going to have a warchest and he can just sit this out."
This, unlike most messages and reports we've received from the ongoing discussions and trade buzz around Simmons, is a little more coded than simply "Team A wants Simmons" or "Simmons told the Sixers he's not interested in coming back". Why is Windhorst reporting this information right now - and why do we care that Simmons is essentially taking aim at Daryl Morey's ability to find a trade from the teams who are interested?
It's probably two-fold.
One, Simmons is likely unhappy that he's still on the Sixers as the season rapidly approaches. Training camp is this month, and the season opener is just six weeks away. He probably assumed that, after the unpleasant end to last year and the way both sides sent messages all summer, he would be getting acclimated to a new situation by now instead of still playing the waiting game. This could be one way for Simmons and his camp to turn up the pressure even more on Morey and the Sixers' front office to get something done before the regular season begins.
And then there's a more intriguing possibility: Simmons doesn't like the teams he's been connected to, namely Cleveland and Minnesota. Simmons is a 25-year-old with a big public profile and a pricey mansion in California. I can't imagine he's clamoring to play in one of two cold-weather Midwest destinations, on teams with little in the way of recent history or long-term prestige outside of LeBron basically singlehandedly lifting the Cavaliers to relevance during his two stints in Cleveland. This could be Simmons trying to turn up the heat on Morey in a different way: to go find a better deal, preferably elsewhere.
Either way, it's pretty clear Simmons wants the Sixers to do something about their respective current situations.
But, as I've written many times throughout this saga, I just can't see Morey taking below-market value for a three-time All-Star and supremely talented defender/playmaker just to get the trade done. He'll get uncomfortable if he has to - and so, it seems, will Simmons.