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Cleveland Cavaliers still interested in Ben Simmons trade

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the under-the-radar teams that have come up in Ben Simmons trade talks with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Most figured that would change once Cleveland pulled off a sign-and-trade for forward Lauri Markkanen. Apparently, that’s not the case.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Cleveland is still interested in adding the embattled three-time All-Star in a trade with Philadelphia.

“Sources say that Cleveland continues to keep its hat in the ring to try to pry Ben Simmons from the Sixers,” Stein reported on Tuesday.

By now, it well known that Ben Simmons wants out of dodge. He’s requested a trade and is threatening to hold out of training camp. With the 2021-22 NBA regular season getting going next month, time is running out on this front.

The larger question here whether Cleveland has what it takes to pry Simmons away from Philadelphia. Remember, the 76ers’ asking price for the point guard remains extremely high.

How might a Ben Simmons trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers might look?

Cleveland Cavaliers, Ben Simmons trade
Jun 20, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons warms up before game seven of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia overplayed its hand in previous trade discussions with the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors surrounding Simmons. Ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft, that included the Sixers demanding four first-round picks, James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins from Golden State for Simmons. Said idea was laughed right off.

Now that Simmons has taken to the media in an indirect way to request a trade, it’s unknown whether Philadelphia’s front office is working at a position of disadvantage in trade discussions.

Currently $14 million over the cap, any move to bring in Simmons would have to include Cleveland talking Philadelphia (or a third team) into taking on Kevin Love’s bloated contract.

From there, it stands to reason that high-scoring guard Collin Sexton would be included in any deal. Perhaps, 2020 lottery pick Isaac Okoro could also be moved.

The issue here is that none of these players will be viewed by 76ers front office head Daryl Morey as an upgrade over Simmons. That’s why a third team would have to get involved to take on Love’s contract while likely receiving draft compensation from Cleveland. Whether said team would have the assets to entice Philadelphia in a hypothetical three-team trade remains to be seen.

What we do know is that Ben Simmons would be an interesting fit in Cleveland. The team has a core group of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Lauri Markkanen and rookie No. 3 pick Evan Mobley.