The Sacramento Kings were rumored over the past few weeks to be the front runners in the Ben Simmons trade market. After the latest bombshell report by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, that no longer appears to be the case.
"The Sacramento Kings -- one of the most aggressive teams in the trade market and once an eager suitor for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons -- have ended their pursuit of a deal with the 76ers and turned elsewhere in trade talks, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Inside of two weeks until the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline, the Kings believe the asking price for Simmons is too steep and that a pathway to a trade agreement with the Sixers doesn't exist, sources said," Wojnarowski reported.
The potential return from the Kings would have provided the best combination of win-now players and long-term assets. Now that the Kings have dropped out of the Simmons trade talks, the chances of Simmons remaining a member of the Philadelphia 76ers past the Feb. 10 trade deadline just shot way up.
However, before everyone fully writes off the Kings as a potential suitor for Simmons, remember teams always leak certain information in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. The Kings indeed are likely to have backed out of the trade conversations, but it is also possible the Kings' front office is attempting to drive the potential return lower to the point where they would feel comfortable getting back into the negotiations. Always be wary of the information released in the weeks leading into the trade deadline as teams usually selectively release certain things in an effort to change the trade market.
In the case of the Kings fully backing out of the Simmons trade discussion, Wojnarowski reported the Sixers "still believe there are potential avenues to find a deal in the next two weeks."
There are still many teams interested in trading for Simmons before the trade deadline. The Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers are just some of the teams who were reportedly interested in Simmons over the past few months.
However, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is heavily interested in making a run at James Harden in the offseason. The two have been connected by multiple reports over recent weeks as well as their long history together while Harden was a member of the Houston Rockets.
Morey's asking price for Simmons is incredibly high, meaning there was always a decent chance the Sixers would not receive a high-quality offer for Simmons and the saga would be extended into this coming offseason. Wojnarowski, in his report, wrote: "Morey and the Sixers have remained committed to the belief that the offseason could deliver the availability of higher-profile players into the trade market for Simmons."
All eyes will continue to be on the Sixers heading into the trade deadline, which stands just under two weeks away.