Ben Simmons ‘interested’ in playing for Celtics amid 76ers trade talks (report)

As long as the Boston Celtics are not willing to discuss Jaylen Brown in a trade package, the odds of Ben Simmons eventually becoming a Boston Celtic are quite small.

However, on the heels of Shams Charania of the Athletic reporting that the Celtics and 76ers have engaged in trade talks surrounding the All-Star guard, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe revealed an intriguing tidbit from a league source: Simmons would be interested in suiting up for the 76ers divisional rival in Boston.

Analysis

From a big picture perspective, the revelation means very little on the surface. Simmons is under contract for the next four seasons and the 76ers are not going to let him pick his next destination after demanding a trade this past offseason. 76ers general manager Daryl Morey has already signaled that he’s prepared to hold out for years unless Philadelphia gets what they think is an acceptable return for Simmons via trade.

“This is a very good player, and to give ourselves the best chance to win the title, you need difference makers,” Morey told the Fanatic in a radio interview last month. “You don’t need role players. Right now any sort of trade — which obviously Ben Simmons wants — the best thing we can do is get role players back. That makes no sense. That will give us no better chance to win the title, if we were to move Ben Simmons for role players.

“So people should buckle in. This is going to go for a long time, because my only job is to help us have the best chance to win the title. Ben Simmons is a difference maker, so if we can get him back, he will help us win the title. If we can trade Ben Simmons for a difference maker, we will do it. I think that’s best for everyone in this situation.”

That’s an understandable public stance for Morey to take in hopes of both fielding strong trade offers and eventually convincing Simmons to come back and play for Philadelphia in the event that an appealing trade does not emerge in the coming weeks and months for the Sixers.

However, if Simmons does not come off his hardline stance of refusing to play any more games in Philadelphia as this season progresses, a list of potential suitors for the 6-foot-11 guard becomes more intriguing to watch. No team is going to want to deal for Simmons’ massive deal without assurances he would be content in his new destination, so that stance is worth watching with Boston if this Simmons saga drags on another month or two. There may be a limited pool of suitors that are willing to take on the risk that comes with Simmons and his bloated deal as time wears on and that could impact any asking price.

With that said, all of this means nothing from Boston’s perspective until Morey lowers his asking price, something that isn’t guaranteed to happen. Even if it does, it’s unlikely Boston’s best remaining assets outside of Brown and Jayson Tatum would be able to top other potential offers from Simmons suitors on the trade market. The field would need to thin considerably for a Celtics offer without Brown to be considered but the fact that Simmons reportedly would be interested in playing with Boston could be a factor in whatever offer Boston ends up considering.

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