Lakers Pursuing Trade for 3x All-Star, Says Insider

Ben Simmons Lakers

Getty The Lakers have been linked to Sixers superstar Ben Simmons (left).

The Athletic’s Shams Charania dropped a bit of a Los Angeles Lakers bombshell regarding the team’s interest in Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons. Charania reported that the Lakers are one of several franchises pursuing a Simmons trade as part of a “fresh pool of teams” that are in talks for the disgruntled three-time All-Star.

“The 76ers are ramping up their efforts to spark multi-team trade scenarios to move Simmons, sources said, and a fresh pool of teams has emerged as potential destinations,” Charania detailed on December 13.”The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are among the teams interested in Simmons, sources said, although it’s unclear how much traction Philadelphia truly has on any move.”

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Who Would the Lakers Trade in a Potential Blockbuster Deal for Simmons?

There is a big difference in discussing a potential trade and pulling off a deal. The Lakers face several roadblocks to securing a trade for Simmons. Namely, the Lakers have very few players that can match Simmons’ $33 million salary. Given the Lakers are not going to deal LeBron James or Anthony Davis, this leaves Russell Westbrook as the most likely candidate in a trade for Simmons.

Would the Sixers have an interest in adding Westbrook? The Lakers point guard’s $44 million salary this season and $47 million in 2022-23 could make Westbrook an unattractive option for the Sixers. Outside of James and Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker remains the Lakers’ most tradable asset but his $9.5 million salary means Los Angeles would need several more players added to the deal, making a potential Simmons trade clunky.


Multiple NBA Executives Told Heavy They Could Envision a Westbrook-Simmons Swap


Ben Simmons is 'a jumpshot away from being LeBron James part 2' – Stephen A. | First TakeStephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Kendrick Perkins discuss how crucial an improved jumpshot from Ben Simmons will be for the Philadelphia 76ers' success. #FirstTake #NFL ✔️ Subscribe to ESPN+plus.espn.com/ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/SUBSCRIBEtoNBAonESPN ✔️ Watch ESPN…2020-12-04T17:52:08Z

Westbrook has been a popular scapegoat for Lakers fans given L.A.’s early season struggles, but the superstar could still have some trade value despite his bloated deal. Multiple NBA executives told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that a Westbrook-Simmons swap could solve both team’s woes.

“I think the only thing that makes sense, that could be OK with everyone in the short term, that’s acceptable, is you send out Russ for Ben Simmons,” an NBA front-office exec told Heavy in November. “There’s enough talent going both ways, enough positive for both sides, there is history there on both sides, connections, enough common ground that maybe you could get that one over the finish line. Maybe.”

One general manager believes Sixers general manager Daryl Morey sees value in Westbrook as a potential asset.

“I think Morey still likes Westbrook and there could be a deal in there,” one East GM told Heavy. “I think you would need a third team to make the money work because the Lakers do not have a lot of middle-tier guys or draft picks they can add to get the Sixers’ interest. But really, it would come down to, would Russ be enough of a return for Simmons? They’re holding out for the (James) Hardens and the (Damian) Lillards now, and it’s a matter of whether that changes.”


The Sixers Are Holding out for a Top-25 Player for Simmons: Report

Simmons has yet to play for the 76ers this season after a tumultuous offseason that appears to have made his relationship with the Sixers even more strained. The 76ers guard has cited his mental health as part of the reason he is sidelined until the team pulls off a deal. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that Morey is holding out trading Simmons until he can land someone on his mystery list of top-25 players.

“Nevertheless, the Sixers are becoming more engaged on multiple fronts in talks centered on Simmons,” Wojnarowski and Lowe explained on December 10. “Philadelphia has been aggressively trying to assemble two- and three-team deal structures to land a package that would include a top 25-level player, sources said.”

From the Lakers perspective, Simmons makes some sense on multiple levels despite last season’s playoff meltdown. The star is represented by Klutch Sports and his close relationship with James has been well-documented. It remains to be seen whether the Lakers can make a compelling enough offer for the Sixers to finally pull the trigger on a deal.

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