76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey believes a Ben Simmons trade before the trade deadline this season is “less likely than likely.”
“I think it’s less likely than likely,” Morey said of a Simmons trade coming about ahead of the February 10 trade deadline. “I hope that I’m wrong, it won’t be for a lack of trying… It takes two or three to tango and trades are difficult to construct in this league.”
The ongoing saga seems no closer to a resolution as Simmons continues to sit out games for Philadelphia, and the team remains firm on its desire to get back a top 25 player for the three-time All-Star. According to reports, Simmons is believed to be willing to sit out the entire season if he is not traded.
The 76ers have maintained two stances: They would either like Simmons to return to the team and play or they will only trade him for a top 25 player.
The Feb. 10 trade deadline is fast approaching and Morey, speaking to 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli Show on Thursday, suggested that there is no deal imminent and that the 76ers are still prepared to hang on to their player if the right deal does not come.
Morey stressed the importance of making a deal that enables them to capitalize on Joel Embiid’s MVP-level play in recent weeks.
“We have to make sure we get this right and that we move ourselves in to a higher tier of ability to win championships — and not just nudge ourselves from having the seventh-best chance to maybe the sixth-best chance in the league,” he said. “That just doesn’t make sense.”
There have been many players rumored to be on a list of potential names the Sixers would want back for their point guard, but Morey also indicated during his appearance that the list may have been expanded, but again, whichever player the Sixers bring in, would need to complement the core they already have.
“We can do it where we do a trade, it helps the team, it’s a better fit, and maybe our future opportunities are still open because we get some draft picks as part of it. So it ups our odds enough this year, and we maybe have a draft pick or a young player who could help us into the future who might develop — like if we got a player of the caliber of a Maxey coming back.
“We might be able to say OK, we got a really solid player who’s maybe not in the top 30, but he’s a little bit below that, plus a solid young player who over Joel’s prime, which we’re sitting in, might develop into that. So it opens up more possibilities of deals, if that makes sense.”
Simmons, who hasn’t played for the 76ers in over 200 days, but Morey also believes the door hasn’t shut on a potential reunion between the two, and that we could see Simmons in a 76ers jersey once again.
“I 100% believe he could play for us again, he’d be literally almost the perfect player we could have to pair with Joel Embiid,” Morey said. “People don’t understand how much he impacts… I think that’s why there’s continued big trade interest in him.