How bad will the Sacramento Kings have Ben Simmons?
Several sources have previously said the Western Conference team was willing to implement a deal for Simmons and Tobias Harris. And the Kings still have an interest in acquiring the 76ers' two highest paid players, according to sources.
A source said Sacramento has considered packing Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes and two first-round picks for Simmons, Harris and Matisse Thybulle. However, the source said the Sixers are not interested in that package.
Another source said the Sixers have not received a formal swap offer at this time. The source added that none of those conversations have involved Thybulle or any of the Sixers' other young players. Speaking of Thybulle specifically, the source added that the second-team All-Defensive selection is close to being immovable.
However, the Kings have contacted people around the league for background information on Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed, according to sources.
League leaders believe the Sixers are happy to hold on to Simmons throughout this season and move him offseason.
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But this is not the first time Harris' name has surfaced in trade discussions involving Simmons.
Last week, the Atlanta Hawks considered sending John Collins, Cam Reddish and a first-rounder to the Sixers in exchange for the Simmons, according to sources. Talks stopped, however, after Harris' name was brought into the deal.
The Sixers rejected a report saying they were packing Harris along with Simmons. But several teams around the league say that is the case. Several league sources have even said that the Sixers are shopping Harris, which has also been denied.
Kings know the Sixers are not interested in acquiring excellent point guard De'Aaron Fox in a deal with Simmons. A source said that is why the Kings want to include Barnes in the deal. The power forward's $ 20.2 million could help match wages. Barnes is also one who has value around the NBA.
But with the intention of getting Simmons, a source said the Kings are trying to find a way to acquire Harris, who is also a power forward. They would either trade for him or find a third team willing to take Harris into a multi-team trade, according to a league source.
At present, the two sides have not received any significant input into an agreement prior to the deadline of 10 February.
But to make the possible deal, the Kings would most likely have to add an extra piece or get a third team involved to make wages go up.
Harris ($ 35.9 million), Simmons ($ 33.0 million) and Thybulle ($ 2.8 million) together earn $ 71.7 million. Meanwhile, Hield ($ 23.0 million), Barnes ($ 20.2 million) and Haliburton ($ 4.0 million) are earning $ 47.2 million.
The Kings had to use their $ 3.6 million trade exemption, take Thybulle in and add another piece to make the deal work. One option would be to use Tristan Thompson's expiring $ 9.7 million contract.
The best pay deal would include Fox ($ 28.1 million), Barnes and Hield for Simmons and Harris. The three kings together earn $ 71.3 million. But sources have repeatedly said the Sixers are not interested in a deal involving Fox unless he is sent to a third team.
Time will tell if they change their minds.
But will Haliburton, Barnes and Hield drive the Sixers to the NBA Championship?
»READ MORE: Sources: Ben Simmons tells team fan that he no longer wants to be a Sixer and he does not intend to sign up for training camp
The Sixers' stance that they will not trade Simmons just to make a trade has been consistent. They want an All-Star caliber player in return who will help them win a championship.
Barnes averages 16.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, while shooting career-best 41.9% on three-pointers. Despite that, he is more seen as a role player on an elite team. Meanwhile, Heild is a volume shooter who does not play defense and gets paid nicely for a player who only started six of his 46 appearances this season. The sixth-year veteran's 15.6 points per. match is his lowest since averaging 13.5 in his second season. Meanwhile, his 38.5% from the three-point distance is the lowest since he shot 36.9% as a New Orleans Pelicans rookie before being traded to the Kings.
Haliburton is a good young player with an average of 13.7 points and shoots 42.7% from three. But how good he will be is still unknown.
Simmons has yet to play this season after telling the Sixers in August that he wanted to be traded. The triple All-Star has insisted he will never play another match for the organization. A source confirmed that Simmons intends to sit out the rest of the season if it is not moved within the trade deadline.
The Sixers continue to fine Simmons for games that have been missed, according to sources. But they no longer fine him for small indiscretions like failing to tape his ankle to training.