Weeks after reports emerged saying Ben Simmons had no future with the Philadelphia 76ers, both sides appear focused on an agreement that would have the All-Star rejoin the team.
ESPN and The Athletic said on Monday that Simmons' representatives have been engaged in talks with 76ers management for the past few days and made progress in ending the Australian's holdout.
The situation has improved to the point that ESPN reported Simmons could soon speak directly to team officials, which he has not done since reiterating his trade demands in late August.
Head coach Doc Rivers spoke to reporters before Monday's preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets and said the team wants Simmons back – "our position hasn't changed at all" – but he declined to get into specifics about the ongoing talks.
A potential agreement for Simmons to return in the coming days does not necessarily mean he will be with the team for the long haul, but getting the guard back on the court could make it easier for Philadelphia to trade him.
Simmons is due to be paid $33million this season and will have three years and $114m remaining on his deal after that.
Those numbers combined with Simmons' abysmal showing in last season's playoffs have left Philadelphia with minimal leverage in the trade market.
Across Games 5, 6 and 7 of the 76ers' Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Hawks, Simmons averaged just 6.3 points from 4.7 field goal attempts.
The 25-year-old attempted only one shot in the fourth quarter of the final six games of the series against the Hawks, while he passed up a dunk that would have tied the game in the fourth quarter of Game 7.
His 34.2 per cent free-throw shooting throughout the playoffs was by far the worst rate of any player with 10 attempts or more, while he took just one shot in clutch situations.
In four seasons with the Sixers, Simmons has averaged 15.9 points per game in the regular season, yet he has attempted only 34 shots from three-point range and made just 59.7 per cent from the foul line.
Should the parties come to an agreement quickly, the earliest Simmons could feature in a game would be Friday's preseason finale against the Detroit Pistons.
The 76ers open the regular season on October 20 against the New Orleans Pelicans.