Star Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons was absent from the team’s media day on Monday, leading to further questions about his future in the City of Brotherly Love.
As has been reported on a near never-ending loop since the end of the 2020-21 NBA season, Simmons wants to be traded. He made good on his promise to hold out from the start of training camp and just recently turned down an offer to meet with 76ers players in Southern California.
With Philadelphia slated to open its preseason slate in less than a week, it’s looking more and more like Ben Simmons will get his wish and be traded.
According to a recent report, that will likely be to the Western Conference.
“Within this story is obviously the Ben Simmons situation, and while the Sixers said yesterday they want him on the court, they’re also targeting the Western Conference for potential trade partners, I’m told,” Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports reported Tuesday.
Philadelphia’s brass met with the media on Monday, clearly indicating that they want Ben Simmons on the court this season. Said meeting got pretty contentious with head coach Doc Rivers lashing back at the media as pretty much the entire Q&A session surrounded the three-time All-Star.
“Listen we can go back and forth all you want or anybody else wants, on intent, but I’ve never had a problem owning what I say, ever,” Rivers said. “I’m gonna finish. I’m in charge here. I’m gonna finish.”
This represents an unfortunate backdrop for Philadelphia mere months after a disappointing second-round exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. What we do know is that it’s looking more and more like Simmons has played his final game in Philadelphia as a member of the Sixers.
Western Conference teams in on Ben Simmons?
This report falls in line with previous suggestions that Simmons would prefer to be shipped off to California with the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings being bandied about the most. Prior to the firing of president Gersson Rosas, the Minnesota Timberwolves were also linked to the enigmatic former No. 1 pick.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob was just fined $50,000 for tampering with Simmons. However, there’s some contest needed there. In his comments, Lacob pretty much declared that the Warriors were not interested in teaming him up with Draymond Green.
“In some ways, it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know. He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”
Whether things have changed on this front remains to be seen. Andrew Wiggins was bandied about in trade talks with Philadelphia this past summer before said conversations broke down. Now that he’s not vaccinated for COVID-19 and might have to sit out home games in San Francisco this season, there’s a chance the Warriors might broach this topic again.
Sacramento had previously pushed back against including stud young guard Tyrese Haliburton in a deal for Ben Simmons. Instead, the Kings were said to be offering up Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley as centerpices in a potential deal. Meanwhile, Minnesota would have to part ways with D’Angelo Russell in order to pull off a trade of this ilk.
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Author: Vincent Frank