Discussions have gained momentum on All-Star Ben Simmons returning to the Philadelphia 76ers, likely as soon as this week, sources told ESPN on Monday.
Philadelphia management and coach Doc Rivers progressed in talks over the weekend with Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, on a resolution for Simmons to report to the team, sources said.
Simmons could soon speak directly with team officials, something he hasn’t done directly since a late August meeting in Los Angeles when he reiterated his desire to be traded, sources told ESPN.
He has become more open to the possibility of ending his time away from the team and reporting to Philadelphia, which has been a focus of continuing talks between Paul and the organization, sources said.
The Sixers have canvassed the league throughout the offseason for trades, but have been unable to find a deal that would bring them back the kind of comparable star they’d want to continue to build a championship contender around All-NBA center Joel Embiid, sources said. Those trade talks would likely continue with a Simmons return, but Sixers president Daryl Morey and Rivers are hopeful to continue working to convince Simmons on remaining long-term with the franchise, sources said.
Simmons will have lost $1 million in salary once he misses Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
He has four years and $147 million left on his max contract, including $33 million for 2021-22.