Stephen A. Smith: 76ers are lying and heres the favorite to trade for Ben Simmons

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Stephen A. Smith is calling the 76ers’ bluff.

Just one day after ESPN reported the Sixers are committed to keeping Ben Simmons as “a central piece of their franchise,” the “First Take” host claimed the point guard could be as good as gone in Philadelphia — for the right price.

“It’s a lie,” Smith said on Friday’s episode of the ESPN show, while discussing the latter report.

“It’s just that they’re not interested getting trash back for him… Hell yeah, they’ll move him if it’s the right offer. They won’t move him for garbage, but I know a lot of people in Philly,” Smith said, alluding to connections made from his time as a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Let them get the right offer and Ben is gone.”

Smith went as far as to claim Simmons could potentially team up with Steph Curry and Draymond Green with the Warriors.

“The Warriors are going to make a push for Simmons. It’s possible Ben Simmons could end up in Golden State,” he said. “The calls have already been made and things are percolating.”

Smith never offered up a source or the root of where his inside info came from. Instead, he told viewers to keep an eye on the situation for themselves.

On Thursday, ESPN reported that Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, met with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand in Chicago to discuss his client’s future.

The conversation, which took place at the pre-draft combine, came after Simmons’ poor playoff performance and continued lack of shooting that contributed to the 76ers being bounced by the Hawks in the second round.

Paul reportedly spoke with Morey and Brand about whether or not a trade made the most sense for Simmons ahead of the next season. Despite engaging in the idea, a trade request was never made.

Both parties plan to continue a dialogue throughout the NBA Draft on July 29, and into free agency in August, according to ESPN. Though, the Sixers are publicly maintaining that they’re keeping Simmons as a primary piece of its franchise plan.

Following the Sixers’ Game 7 elimination loss to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Simmons took responsibility for his historically poor free-throw shooting.

After Simmons failed to attempt a fourth quarter shot in five of the seven games in the Hawks series, Magic Johnson declared Simmons “can’t recover from this.”

Earlier this week, ESPN reported Simmons is “doubtful” to join the Australian national team at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and will instead spend the offseason working on “skill development.”

The 24-year-old’s continued lack of improvement on the offensive end has raised questions about whether or not he still pairs well with Sixers big man Joel Embiid — who, after Philadelphia’s playoff elimination, expressed his frustration with Simmons’ decision to pass on a late-game, wide-open layup.

Simmons, who turns 25 in July, has four years and $147 million left on his contract.

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