The Sacramento Kings have long been linked to disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons. However, it doesn’t sound like the franchise will pursue the veteran guard this year.
Kings general manager Monte McNair’s recent comments to the media suggest Sacramento will enter the 2021-22 campaign with its roster as is.
“This is going to be our team going in,” McNair said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I look at our roster and I see a lot of versatility, guys who can slide up, slide down and really give us different looks.
“Talking with Luke [Walton], I think we’re excited about the possibilities of different lineups, how we can match up in different situations. I think we actually have pretty good roster balance in the sense of, not traditional thinking, but … I think we can put a lot of different lineups out there to match up with whatever we need.”
It’s not necessarily surprising that McNair believes the Kings will enter the 2021-22 season with their current lineup. Anderson reported earlier this month that the Sixers want either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in exchange for Simmons. Sacramento isn’t willing to part ways with either player.
Anderson said that the Kings could potentially offer Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and other assets, including multiple first-round draft picks, to Philly.
However, the Sixers don’t seem to be interested in trade negotiations with the Kings unless Fox becomes available. That’s why NBA insider Marc Stein believes Daryl Morey is hoping the Kings get off to a slow start this coming season.
“Morey is surely hoping that a slow start for Portland or Sacramento could lead to the sort of early tension that prompts Damian Lillard to finally ask for a trade, or the sort of desperation that nudges the Kings into making De’Aaron Fox available. Morey frankly needs an assist of some sort,” Stein writes.
Simmons reportedly “intends to never play another game” for the Sixers and has cut off all communication with the team since an August meeting in L.A. in which he informed management of his decision to hold out.
So, eventually, Philadelphia will have to move on from Simmons. At this point, it’s just a waiting game. The 25-year-old is under contract through the 2024-25 campaign after signing a five-year extension worth $177.2 million in July 2019.