Source: Kings move on from Ben Simmons pursuit, set sights elsewhere

Source: Simmons asking price too high, unrealistic for Kings

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The Ben Simmons pipe dream has come to an end for the Sacramento Kings. According to a league source, the Kings’ front office ended their pursuit of the 25-year-old three-time All-Star on Friday and are moving on to different targets. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the news.

Simmons was always an intriguing option for the Kings, but according to a league source, the asking price was much higher than current reports and the Kings have decided to no longer be a pawn in negotiations. 

It should be noted that Kings general manager Monte McNair and assistant GM Wes Wilcox are on the Kings’ current five game road trip. The team is currently in Philadelphia where they will face the Sixers on Saturday night. Whether the two sides met over the last 24 hours is unknown, but something has clearly changed. 

There is a legitimate possibility that Philadelphia doesn’t move Simmons at all between now and the February 10 deadline. Sixers president Daryl Morey appears focused on landing Nets superstar James Harden over the summer and Simmons is his biggest trade chip, even if he hasn’t seen the court in over seven months.

Sacramento will continue to be aggressive on the trade front. They have been linked to almost every available big name on the market, including the Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis, Jerami Grant from the Pistons and the Hawks’ John Collins.

At 18-32, there is growing frustration behind the scenes with the product on the floor. After losing by 53 points to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday and falling to the Hawks by 17 the next night, the Kings have now lost five straight and look listless on the court.

The current trajectory of the team is “unacceptable” and the team plans to “stay aggressive” according to a person with knowledge of the situation. McNair has the blessing of ownership to use all assets at his disposal, including all players on the roster and the team’s warchest of draft capital.

Sources have confirmed that the Kings still hope to build around the young backcourt pairing of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. The key word is “hope” in that statement. With the season spinning completely out of control, nothing should be off the table. 

Veterans Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes are all available via trade according to multiple sources. This is an acknowledgement by the Kings’ front office that the core that has been in place for two-plus seasons isn’t good enough moving forward and that changes have to be made.

The clock is ticking. With just 13 days remaining before the trade deadline, and the Kings quickly moving closer to the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the time for change may have already come and gone. 

Sacramento is careening toward a 16th consecutive season without a playoff appearance. Change is necessary. Moving on from the core is a necessity. 

McNair has a slim window to drastically change the fortunes of this team, not only for this season but moving forward. Giving up pursuit of Simmons may be the decision that helps advance talks with other teams to get the Kings closer to a franchise overhaul. 

Then again, the Kings might not have the assets to entice another team to play ball. The pressure is on to make a trade. The season is slipping away. Bring on 13 more days of rumors and chaos.

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