There’s a new club reportedly making a push to land Ben Simmons, but it doesn’t appear that the Golden State Warriors are that mystery team.
This week, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentioned on The Scoop podcast that there were a handful of teams interested in the Philadelphia 76ers star, with one team stepping forward to make an offer. Though the Warriors have been connected to Simmons in the past and reportedly fielded an offer from the Sixers before the NBA draft, all indications point to another team now leading the race for him.
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Sixers Get an Offer
As Windhorst reported, one “small market” team reached out to Philadelphia with an offer for Simmons. This seems to rule out the Warriors, who are not considered small market by any definition of the term.
It could be another Northern California neighbor making the push for Simmons. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported earlier this month that the Sacramento Kings were in talks with the Sixers, but made it clear that they wouldn’t be parting with some of their most promising young players.
“According to a source with knowledge of their situation, the Kings spoke to the Sixers weeks ago and made it clear that neither De’Aaron Fox nor Tyrese Haliburton would be included in a possible Simmons deal,'” Amick reported. “That stance, the source said, has not and will not change and the internal expectation is that the core of their roster will remain the same heading into training camp later this month.”
Amick reported that trade talks had stopped at the time, though the Kings could be reaching out with a counter-proposal. There are other teams reportedly in the mix that would fit the definition of a small-market team, including the Cleveland Cavlaiers.
Simmons had a well-rounded season in 2020, averaging 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game, though his performance in the playoffs came under scrutiny. In a conference semifinal loss, he averaged just 9.9 points and was 15-for-45 from the free-throw line (33.3%).
Warriors Turned Down Offer
Before the small-market team got into the mix, the Sixers were once targeting the Warriors as a potential trade partner. Just before the NBA draft, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Sixers floated a trade offer that would have required the Warriors to send Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, both lottery picks in the 2021 draft and two future first-rounders as well. The Warriors saw the asking price as too steep, and ultimately ended up holding on to both lottery picks, taking Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
There are still some who believe the Warriors should make a move for Simmons. The team is hoping to jump back into title contention with the expected return of Klay Thompson, and pundit Stephen A. Smith said that snagging Simmons just makes sense.
Appearing on 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny, Guru & Dibbs,” Smith said he understood why Golden State could be hesitant to add a defensive-minded big man when they already have one in Draymond Green, but thought that Simmons was just too good to pass up.
“I would also add this about Simmons — think about it this way — at 6’10” with his magnificent ball-handling skills, his athleticism, his ability to push the ball up the floor, to finish at the basket, to kick the ball out to open shooters and being an elite defender — he got my vote for being Defensive Player of the Year — that’s how big-time he is,” Smith said.