A first-round elimination for the Philadelphia 76ers in the bubble capped off a disappointing 2019-20 season for a franchise with championship aspirations.
As a result, head coach Brett Brown was replaced by Doc Rivers, while the franchise also acquired longtime Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey. The hiring of Rivers and Morey provides the stabilisation of a franchise that has fallen short of expectations in recent years, having failed to advance beyond the second round despite boasting a roster with All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Morey's Houston connection with former MVP James Harden has fulled speculation of late, with rumours circulating for weeks around the possibility of the beard heading to Philadelphia. Earlier today, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Philadelphia had made Simmons available in trade discussions with Houston.
MORE: POTENTIAL TRADE PACKAGES FOR JAMES HARDEN
Soon after those reports surfaced, The Athletic's Shams Charania provided the following quote from Morey in response:
"We are not trading Ben Simmons - he is an important part of our future."
In response, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey tells @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: "We are not trading Ben Simmons - he is an important part of our future." https://t.co/W6T7HQjjoP- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 18, 2020
At just 24 years old, Simmons is an All-NBA player and two-time All-Star, forming one of the top young duos in the league with Embiid. It would stand to reason that both Rivers and Morey would want to give the star pairing a chance to succeed in a new system, particularly with the addition of shooting on the perimeter in Seth Curry and Danny Green.
The addition of further perimeter threats was critical for the Sixers and Simmons, with the Australian trailing only LeBron James and Luka Doncic for assists leading 3-point makes last season according to PBP Stats.
The 2021 trade deadline has been approved for March 25, but for now at least, Philadelphia appear set to begin the season with Simmons on the roster.
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