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Ben Simmons now favored to land with the Oklahoma City Thunder

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

When rumors about a potential Ben Simmons trade started to heat up early this past summer, the All-Star guard was linked to bigger-market teams such as the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls.

Now that Simmons has sat out Philadelphia’s first 16 games, interest in a potential trade has died down. By now, the story is well known.

Simmons requested a trade during the off-season and held out of training camp. While he did return ahead of the regular season opener, the former No. 1 pick was suspended for the first game and still remains away from the team. Most recently, there’s been a rift between the enigmatic 25-year-old and his organization over mental health issues.

Despite all of this, there’s a good chance that Simmons will be dealt ahead of the February 10 NBA trade deadline. If so, one surprise team is seen as the favorite.

Related: Updated 2021-22 NBA power rankings

Ben Simmons to the Oklahoma City Thunder?

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
February 9, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

According to Maxim Bet, OKC comes in as the slight favorite over an equally irrelevant Sacramento Kings squad to land Simmons. The odds are interesting.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: +200
  • Sacramento Kings: +300
  • San Antonio Spurs: +400
  • Portland Trail Blazers: +600
  • Boston Celtics: +800
  • Houston Rockets: +1000
  • Indiana Pacers: +1000

The first three teams mentioned as betting odds to land Simmons are not considered playoff contenders. In fact, all three are either in the initial stages of a rebuild or started anew within the past couple years.

The Thunder are an interesting option in that they have have 19 first-round selections over the next five years. Those are assets that could interest Philadelphia, especially if they could be moved for a true star.

Related: Ben Simmons, other NBA trade rumors

However, the only player on OKC’s roster that might interest Philadelphia as the centerpiece in a Simmons trade is fellow guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Is that something the Thunder would be willing to do? We’re not too sure.

Both the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs have been linked to a Ben Simmons trade in recent months. Sacramento has young options in Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley who might be of interest to Philadelphia. But that’s not the type of centerpiece 76ers front office head Daryl Morey is seeking. As for the Spurs, they turned down a request from Philadelphia that included four first-round picks and two young players.

This is the issue as it relates to a potential Simmons trade. Squads such as the Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and aforementioned Spurs had interest in him. Philadelphia was demanding too much in return for the embattled guard.

Last season saw Simmons average a career low 14.3 points to go with 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists while shooting 56% from the field. He struggled terribly during Philadelphia’s early playoff exit, leading to questions about the former No. 1 pick’s ability to be a franchise cornerstone.

Right now, the Sixers are valuing Ben Simmons as that in trade talks with other teams. They seem to be overplaying their hands. Should that not change ahead of February 10, more drama will be the name of the game in the City of Brotherly Love.