The NBA Draft is one of the most exciting moments in sports. Fans are eager to watch their favorite team select the next big thing. But what happens when a player isn’t even sure he wants to be drafted?

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In Philadelphia, the Ben Simmons story continues. The unhappy point guard wants out of Philadelphia, forcing the 76ers to find a new home for the man they drafted first overall in 2016. The Portland Trail Blazers are one among the teams reported to be interested in teaming the guard with superstar Damian Lillard.

With the NBA season coming, the Sixers would want to finalize a contract as quickly as possible to put an end to the Simmons saga. However, after hearing what Portland Trail Blazers head coach Billups, Chauncey had to say about Ben in 2016, it may be wise to reconsider talks with the team.

Ben Simmons has allegedly being discussed between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons has made three All-Star teams, two All-Defensive teams, and an All-Rookie team in four seasons. In 2019-20, he was named to the All-NBA team after leading the NBA with 2.1 steals per game. However, the 6-foot-11 point guard’s value has never been worse than it is right now.

In Philadelphia’s second-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons was nervous. In Games 5 through 7, the guard, who has never been much of a shooter, attempted only 14 total shots. Even worse, Ben only tried three fourth-quarter shots in the series, with none in the last four games. The Sixers, who were seeded first, lost three of the last four games and the series.

Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers have yet to strike gold with Lillard and CJ McCollum. Portland is coming off back-to-back first-round losses, and Lillard’s long-term future with the club is still up in the air. So it’s only natural that whispers about the Blazers changing things up and asking about Simmons circulate. McCollum, Robert Covington, and a pair of first-round selections may be sent to the Sixers in exchange for Simmons, but the Sixers have not budge.

In 2016, Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups was not a fan of Simmons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= WaoLGYQziA

Billups was hired as head coach in the summer to replace Terry Stotts. While he won’t have the ultimate say in roster selections, his input will undoubtedly be taken into account. And in 2016, he had a less-than-flattering view on Simmons.

In April 2016, the veteran point guard, whose NBA career came to an end in 2014, was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show. The top NBA Draft prospects, especially Simmons, were discussed. When Patrick questioned Billups whether Simmons, a freshman at LSU, was a once-in-a-lifetime player worth tanking for, Billups responded emphatically:

“No. No, I don’t believe so. I’m not sure I’d take him with the first overall selection right now.”

Chauncey Billups

Billups, who claimed Brandon Ingram would be his first-round pick instead of Simmons, wasn’t completely dismissive of Simmons. However, he didn’t think the pass-first guard was the best choice.

“I adore Simmons, and I think he’s fantastic. “I believe he is a basketball player,” Billups remarked. “It’s difficult to be excellent in this league if you can’t shoot well. And, although Magic [Johnson] may not have been the best shooter of all time, he is maybe one of the greatest winners of all time.”

Simmons’ pre-draft comparisons were also addressed by the three-time All-NBA pick. While he didn’t compare the Australian to Magic Johnson or LeBron James, he did compare him to another playmaking lefty in Lamar Odom.

“Lamar was a fantastic athlete. Billups remarked, “I played with Lamar, I adore Lamar.” “And that’s OK if you’re going to be the team’s third or fourth best player. That’s just fine. Ben, on the other hand, is described as “once in a lifetime.”

Ben Simmons’ choices with the Philadelphia 76ers are dwindling.

Ben Simmons and Chauncey Billups side-by-side.

Ben Simmons and Chauncey Billups side-by-side. The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (L) and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Chauncey Billups (R). | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images | Getty Images/Sarah Stier

Simmons was not seen as a generational talent by Billups in 2016, and the guard has done little to change his mind five years later. As a result, it’s reasonable to expect Portland to be wary about increasing their already substantial offer, which the Sixers have consistently rejected. So, who are the remaining suitors?

The Golden State Warriors were one possibility, but GM Bob Myers ruled out any major deals in the near future. The Minnesota Timberwolves have also been connected to Simmons, but they are wary of giving up any of their young stars or a slew of draft choices. Other possible destinations include the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, although none has been connected firmly enough to be considered a serious danger.

Philadelphia may have to reduce their asking price for Simmons in the end. If he isn’t moved, the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year is prepared to sit out the whole season. If that’s the case, the 76ers’ chances of winning the Eastern Conference would be significantly hampered by the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.

The 76ers should continue to do all they can to reach an agreement with Simmons, including talking with the Trail Blazers. However, based on Billups’ remarks, don’t expect Portland to throw everything at him to acquire him.

Basketball Reference provided all statistics.

RELATED: Charles Barkley Understands Why 76ers Fans Are Furious With Ben Simmons: They’re furious because he’s afraid.

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