With the NBA trade deadline just hour away, it is time for the Los Angeles Lakers to shoot their shot, at least according to one analyst. Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley created a list of every NBA team’s hypothetical “final offer” for disgruntled Sixers star Ben Simmons.
The Lakers’ offer, which candidly needs a lot more for Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey to even pick up the phone, sends Russell Westbrook and a future first-round pick to the Sixers. Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka would need to send multiple first rounders to even have a chance at a trade, but the Lakers cannot send anything other than their 2027 first as a result of the previous Anthony Davis deal with the Pelicans.
“The Lakers want a shot at Simmons, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania,” Buckley detailed on February 9. “If we’re just throwing out wild wishes, put me down for a nine-figure jackpot and an oceanfront estate somewhere in the Caribbean.
“If L.A. had the stones to present this offer to Philly, Morey might hit back with an ‘lol wut’ and move on with his day. Westbrook shares some shortcomings with Simmons (inefficient shooting is no more helpful than a reluctance to fire) only without the defensive dominance. Westbrook is also eight years older and $11 million more expensive this season, so the deeper you dig into this deal, the worse it gets.
“Given L.A.’s cap situation and assets shortage, though, this is the best the Lakers can do. On a related note, Simmons will not be rocking purple-and-gold threads anytime soon.”
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The Sixers & Nets Are Engaging in Very Public Negotiations for Simmons
Buckley added that the Lakers’ best offer would prompt the “Sixers [to] let expletives” fly. Despite being a friend of LeBron James and Klutch Sports client, the Lakers do not have enough assets to make a realistic offer for Simmons. There continues to be rumblings that the Nets and 76ers are engaged in serious discussions about swapping James Harden for Simmons in a move that would shake up the NBA.
The Nets are pushing for players like Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey to be added to the deal as the two teams play chicken over the terms of the blockbuster trade. On the eve of the deadline, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported the two teams are not close to a deal.
“A source said that as of Wednesday afternoon, a deal wasn’t as close to being finalized as people think,” Pompey explained. “The Nets and Sixers engaged in informal trade discussions Tuesday and, according to sources, bickered over pieces to add to a potential deal.”
The Lakers May Have to Wait Until the Offseason to Trade Westbrook
The Westbrook era in Los Angeles may have hit a breaking point after the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Bucks on February 8. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that Lakers players feel a sense of “urgency” about making changes to the roster and no longer feel like things can be turned around this season under the team’s current makeup.
Unless the Lakers are willing to take a gamble on acquiring John Wall from the Rockets, Pelinka is likely to come up empty handed at the deadline when attempting to move Westbrook. This means the Lakers may have to wait until the offseason to revisit trade discussions when they can offer more draft picks and the star guard will be on the final year of his contract, assuming Westbrook opts in for the 2022-23 season.