The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the middle of another rebuilding phase, but they may be able to accelerate it very quickly with a trade for a young star.
According to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com, the Cavaliers have interest in Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons, and believe they have enough pieces to interest Philadelphia in a potential trade. The Cavaliers will pick in the top six of the upcoming draft, and have also stockpiled assets on their roster that could interest the Sixers.
Fedor lists last year’s fifth overall pick Darius Garland as a possible piece that could interest Philadelphia.
It’s hard to say how realistic a Simmons trade is. There has been plenty of talk about his ability to coexist with Joel Embiid and the lack of success the Sixers have had with the two players as their centerpieces, even though Embiid has downplayed any tension. In addition, with Simmons unlikely to play again this season, there’s something of an excuse for the Sixers if they don’t go far in the postseason. It’s fair to ask whether Philadelphia would really want to trade Simmons at this point coming off an injury unless someone gives them a huge haul.
No official timetable for his recovery was immediately available, but Wojnarowski reported that a deep playoff run would likely be required for him to return this season, and even that would not be a sure thing.
While the Sixers haven't ruled Simmons out for the season, sources say it would take a deep run into the playoffs to keep the door open on the possibility of a return — and that's still an iffy proposition. For now, the Sixers need to prepare for a postseason without Simmons.
While we don’t know how much time Simmons will miss, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer noted that a similar injury in 2008 kept Andrew Bynum out for several months.
Ugh. Andrew Bynum sufferered the same knee injury in 2008. It was reported at the time as “at least eight weeks” before he could return. Hopefully Ben Simmons is able to recover and come back 100% healthy. https://t.co/j5Lk02NUAN
The initial word on Simmons seemed positive after he left Wednesday’s game early due to the non-contact injury. Obviously, a full examination revealed something more severe. Hopefully he’s able to return before too long.
The Philadelphia 76ers got a major injury scare on Wednesday, but early indications are at least positive.
Ben Simmons left Wednesday’s game with an injured left knee and was very quickly ruled out for the day. Simmons was seen walking to the locker room with a slight limp, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there was no swelling or pain after he left the court.
Early indications on Ben Simmons are encouraging — no swelling or pain in left knee after leaving court, sources tell ESPN.
While we need to wait for more information, that’s at least a positive sign to start with. The Sixers can probably weather a minor Simmons injury, but it would be a serious blow if he were out for any lengthy period.
Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 8.1 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game so far this season.
“When you think about it, this is only our third year together playing,” he said. “A lot of people, they always expect. We’ve only played for three years. The potential that we have. And I love him and want to be with him for the rest of my career because I think he still has a lot of potential, and me too.
“We can get so much better than we are right now,” Embiid went on. “I don’t ever see the point of playing with somebody else. That’s someone I would love to play with for the rest of my career.”
This is indeed the third season that the 24-year-old Simmons and the 26-year-old Embiid have played together. Critics will point to the duo’s failure to make it out of the second round over that span as well as the perceived incompatibility between their ball-dominant, floor-shrinking play styles.
For now, Simmons making a three is still newsworthy. He had made two this season, the first two of his NBA career, but on only six attempts. He had gone 0-for-17 from the perimeter in his first two seasons in the league.
Ben Simmons’ outside shot has long been the glaring weakness in his game, but there may be reason to believe it’s improving.
Simmons has been working on his 3-point shot in practice for the Philadelphia 76ers lately, according to head coach Brett Brown.
“He shot more threes in practice the last few days than he might have in almost half a season. He looks good, he feels good, and I know he’s getting tremendous encouragement from his teammates,” Brown said on Thursday, via The Athletic’s Derek Bodner.
Simmons, who was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016, was 0-for-17 on threes in his first two seasons. This season he was 2-for-6 prior to the season’s suspension. His overall field goal percentage has improved to 58.5 percent this season, too.
So why might he be working on his three-point shot? With Shake Milton rising to prominence during Simmons’ absence, Philly may be doing some lineup shuffling. That would result in Simmons playing forward more during the restart in Orlando for the 39-26 76ers.