Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia, but do not expect to be seeing him in the purple and gold of the Los Angeles Lakers anytime soon.
The relationship between Simmons and the 76ers is broken, with the three-time All-Star guard telling team leadership that he no longer wants to be in Philadelphia. And Simmons wants his next team to be in California, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“He wants to go to three California teams,” a Western Conference executive told Pompey.
That narrows the list down to the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings — although the Sixers have no obligation to grant Simmons his desire.
While trade rumors often run rampant with the Lakers, there’s little to no chance that LA can even fit Simmons into their roster, with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis taking up more than $120 million in cap space.
The odds on Simmons’ next team reflect how unlikely it is that he lands with the Lakers — even with his link to Klutch Sports Group.
The Lakers are +1,800 to land Simmons, putting them nearly on par with the Shanghai Sharks (+2,000) of the Chinese Basketball Association, per Bet Online. The Trail Blazers, TImberwovles and Kings are the top contenders to deal for Simmons.
Charles Barkley Has Harsh Words for Rich Paul
Simmons is repped by Klutch Sports and super-agent Rich Paul, who drew some criticism from NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley for how he’s handled trade negotiations in the past — including with Anthony Davis.
“You know how that group works,” Barkley said. “They try to trade their players to where they want to. [The Lakers] had better deals from Boston and I think maybe New York. But they’re like ‘no, he’s gonna go to LA and gonna play with LeBron or he’s not going to play.’
“They just bullied the league,” Barkley added. “At some point, a team of the league got to stand up and say, ‘wait a minute, I paid your guy. You can’t bully me to trade him and me taking some trash back’. So, I’m hoping somebody in the Sixers organization got some stones.”
Lakers Set at Point Guard
Even from a personnel standpoint, Simmons would not make a lot of sense for the Lakers at this point. The team is set with Westbrook running the point in the starting unit and Kendrick Nunn and Rajon Rondo providing some bench minutes.
The Lakers dealt Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and their 2021 first-round pick in a deal for Westbrook earlier this offseason. It was a lot, but something the team felt could make them a stronger contender.
“I think it was an opportunity to make an aggressive move that we felt bettered our probability to bring the 18th title to the Los Angeles Lakers,” said team vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka. “This was an opportunity to maximize the ability to do what we’re obsessed to do and that’s to bring an 18th title to this city.”