Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey mentioned the Kings as a potential trade partner for Ben Simmons in an interview with a local radio station Thursday, saying he sees the possibility of a deal with Sacramento.
Morey discussed the Simmons saga on “The Anthony Gargano Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Morey hinted the 76ers might be willing to lower their asking price for Simmons in order to build a championship team around Joel Embiid, who is averaging 28.0 points and 10.6 rebounds.
“I can tell you that, for sure, there are deals with the Sacramento Kings that I think would work,” Morey said. “Will those deals ever happen? I have no idea. Are there just trade deals with the Kings? Probably not. Is it multiple teams? Probably, but for sure there are deals that are possible that would go over our line.
“I do think with how great Joel is, our line has moved down a little bit because Joel has lifted us into contention by his sheer will of greatness this year. That does push the number of deals that we would do, more likely, if that makes any sense.”
Morey said the 76ers would like to get a deal done before the Feb. 10 trade deadline and “there’s a better chance that happens because of how great Joel has been.”
Sacramento would likely be willing to send some combination of Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and draft compensation to Philadelphia for Simmons, but the 76ers might want the Kings to include De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in the deal. The Kings have sent mixed signals about their willingness to trade Fox, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday that Sacramento plans to keep building around Fox and Haliburton.
Simmons, 25, is a three-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA Defensive First Team selection and former Rookie of the Year who has career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists. The Kings have been identified as a potential suitor for Simmons since the disgruntled star demanded a trade in August.
Simmons was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft and the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year. He is uniquely gifted as a 6-11, 240-pound point guard who rebounds, runs the floor and facilitates for others. He is a career 14.7% 3-point shooter and 59.7% free-throw shooter, but he still finds ways to score with efficiency, as evidenced by his career scoring average and .560 shooting percentage.
Simmons is in the second year of a massive five-year, $177.2 million deal that will pay him $35.4 million next season, $37.9 million in 2023-24 and $40.3 million in 2024-25.
The 76ers have reportedly talked to the Kings and Atlanta Hawks about a larger deal that would include Simmons and Tobias Harris, who is in the third year of a five-year, $180 million deal. Simmons and Harris are owed a combined $73 million next season. The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Wednesday that the Kings have no interest in acquiring Harris in a deal for Simmons.