More on the Ben Simmons front
We reported Friday on Philadelphia's "goal No. 1" to try to convince its other All-Star to return to this season and re-team with Joel Embiid. Now let's look at the other side of the equation
The NBA trade deadline is now, on this second Monday of a new calendar year, just one month away.
Not-so-bold prediction: We will be writing lots and lots about Ben Simmons over the course of that month, whether or not the Philadelphia 76ers reach the point that they decide it is best to trade their wayward playmaker/defensive ace before the Feb. 10 trade buzzer.
We got a jump on the stretch run of Ben Buzz for this trade season in Friday's This Week In Basketball column, which featured two key developments:
🏀 The Sixers continue to regard the hard-for-outsiders-to-fathom prospect of convincing Ben Simmons to come back to the team this season as their "goal No. 1," according to a source familiar with Philadelphia's thinking.
🏀 The Atlanta Hawks, meanwhile, have emerged as a new Simmons suitor to watch, sources say, as last season’s Eastern Conference Cinderellas slide farther and farther away from the levels they reached during an unexpected run to the conference finals. The Hawks awoke Monday, courtesy of a 2-4 road trip, marooned in 12th in the East at 17-22 and down to No. 27 leaguewide in defense rating.
Skepticism is the kneejerk reaction around the league to Philly’s plan, whether that stems from the serious doubts in circulation about the Sixers’ ability to convince Simmons to rejoin them … or the belief that it’s merely a negotiating ploy to convince interested teams to improve their trade offers.
Now we can add more reporting from the other side of a slow-moving standoff that, like the season itself, has stunningly entered its fourth month.