Discussions about the future of the All-Star Ben simmons with the Philadelphia 76ers began in Chicago this week and included Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and team management, sources told ESPN.
Paul met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons’ Sixers career, sources said.
Paul spoke with the Sixers about whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the parties are expected to continue talking before the July 29 NBA draft and the agency. August free, sources said. The 76ers are committed to keeping Simmons a centerpiece of their franchise, sources said.
Simmons, 24, has four years and $ 147 million left on his contract.
After Simmons’ season ended with a frustrating performance in a seven-game loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Atlanta Hawks, the Sixers are focused on a summer of work to improve their long-range shooting. Simmons and coach Doc Rivers met this week to discuss an improvement plan, the sources said.
Despite Simmons scoring a combined 19 points in the last three games against the Hawks, his market value remains significant, sources said.
Teams have been using pre-draft camp in Chicago to gauge the Sixers’ interest in trade packages, sources said, though Philadelphia remains reluctant to break up the duo of Joel embiid and Simmons without maximizing a return and exhausting all possibilities to improve Simmons’ offense, sources said.
At his postseason press conference Tuesday, Morey declined to make a definitive statement about Simmons’ long-term future in Philadelphia.
“We have a very strong group that we believe in,” Morey said. “None of us can predict the future of what will happen. We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel brings, what Tobias brings [Harris]. In terms of what’s next, we’re going to do our best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster. “
Morey said: “I think it’s pretty obvious what some players need to improve on.”
Simmons’ free throw percentage dropped to 34.2% in the playoffs.
“We need to be a better offensive team,” Morey said. “… Frankly, if we are having difficulties in the second round, that tells me that unfortunately we are not good enough … to win the title, so we have to improve.”