Many fans of the league view the Philadelphia 76ers’ handling of the Ben Simmons situation as a misstep by the 76ers front office. They see the lack of a Ben Simmons trade as the Sixers wasting a year of Embiid’s prime while President of Basketball Operation Daryl Morey clearly believes that the Sixers shouldn’t sell for pennies on the dollar with Ben Simmons. Morey knows that Ben Simmons is Philadelphia’s best chance at improvement into contention.
The biggest problem fans have is that the landscape of the NBA looks unforgiving to Philadelphia. Teams aren’t willing to pay the Sixers what the Sixers want for Ben Simmons’ services. The Sixers, on the other hand, are an immovable object in terms of asking price. Daryl Morey is stuck in a game of chicken with the rest of the league, and Morey has enough leverage to hold firm until something gives.
In the NBA, things can change in an instant. A small market coming off of a championship could have their superstar leave for LA, bringing along a recently resigned MVP candidate with him. A small market big man, seemingly destined for greatness, can force his way to play with one of the greats. An injury-prone point guard can rebuild his trade stock over the course of a year to the point where he is traded and creates a contender in just one season. Triple-double gods can be sent to make super teams, to leave only disappointment. The NBA is a living, breathing thing with the potential to change at any moment.
There are a million different causes that would change the circumstances of the league by just this Summer. If Damian Lillard demands a trade, the Sixers would have a centerpiece. If Bradley Beal demands a trade, the Sixers would have a centerpiece. If James Harden or Zach LaVine is lured over during their unrestricted free agency, the Sixers have the value to send back to get their guy in a sign and trade. If any player demands a trade immediately, the Sixers would have the bones of a deal immediately.
A trade that sends Ben Simmons away for 70 cents on the dollar, a trade that doesn’t return either an army or an All-Star, is a disservice to Embiid, Philadelphia, and the fragile superstar economic atmosphere of the NBA. All it takes for Daryl Morey to come out of this looking like a genius is one change on the entire landscape of the NBA. If Morey trades Simmons for a player of lower caliber, then he would be wasting more than just a year of Embiid’s prime. he could waste his entire career.