Portland Trail Blazers emerge as favorites to land Ben Simmons

NBA trade scenarios, Ben Simmons
Feb 11, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons (top) shoots the ball against Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (bottom) during the second half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

From Philly to Rip City?

The Philadelphia 76ers have been engaged in trade talks for Ben Simmons, with the Portland Trail Blazers currently holding the shortest odds to land the beleaguered star at +150 by PointsBet.

The Blazers are currently being offered ahead of the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors, who are each +200, followed by the Miami Heat at +250.

The 76ers have reportedly been seeking an All-Star-caliber player in return, and the Blazers could prove a good fit in that regard. Portland has reportedly turned down multiple offers for C.J. McCollum that would have netted Portland at least a top-15 pick, but dealing him for Simmons would make for a star-studded backcourt with Damien Lillard.

There has also been speculation that a Simmons-for-Lillard deal could be in the cards down the road, should the 76ers not deal Simmons this offseason and the Blazers aren’t a bigger threat next season.

While Simmons struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball in the playoffs, he was a finalist for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Portland has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, and new coach Chauncey Billups and general manager Neil Olshey are trying to keep Lillard from demanding out of town.

Other destinations being offered by PointsBet include the San Antonio Spurs at +300 and the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks at +400.

The Warriors will not be engaging in a bidding war for Simmons and are not willing to meet the 76ers’ asking price, according to multiple reports. Toronto and the Cleveland Cavaliers have also reportedly approached Philadelphia with trade packages that did not meet general manager Daryl Morey’s asking price.

Golden State has returning All-Stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but isn’t interested in breaking up that core. And the Warriors turned down Morey’s request for James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins and the Nos. 7 and 14 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Simmons, 25, was just 15 of 45 (33.3 percent) from the free-throw line in the seven-game Eastern Conference semifinals lost to the Atlanta Hawks and he attempted just 14 shots from the field over the final three games.

Simmons’ 2020-21 averages of 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists were all the lowest marks of his four NBA seasons.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year, Simmons has four years and $147 million remaining on his contract.

–Field Level Media