Lakers Considered Landing Spot for $177 Million All-Star

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka (left) and head coach Darvin Ham

Getty Lakers GM Rob Pelinka (left) and head coach Darvin Ham

The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a landing spot for a $177 million All-Star.

In a November 17 column called, “NBA Rumors & Notes: Execs Size up Potential New Contract for Celtics Veteran,” senior insider Sean Deveney relayed quotes he received from an Eastern Conference executive about Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons. The exec told Deveney “maybe the Lakers” would trade for Simmons if the Nets move the LSU product.

“The Nets got hustled by Klutch (Simmons’ representatives, who also represent the Lakers’ LeBron James) in the deal so, hey, maybe the Lakers will take him,” the exec told Deveney. “See what LeBron can do with him. Maybe that’s the solution.”

Brooklyn acquired Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers last season in the blockbuster James Harden trade. The three-time All-Star, who didn’t play at all in 2021-22, signed a five-year, $177.2 million maximum rookie contract extension with the Sixers in July 2019. Simmons is making $35.4 million this year and will have earned more than $203 million in NBA money when his contract is over following the 2024-25 season.

The Nets Are Frustrated With Simmons

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on November 16 that the Nets are frustrated with Simmons, who has appeared in 10 games this season and is averaging 5.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists while shooting 48.1% from the field. The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year has scored in double-figures only once.

“According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the frustration surrounding Simmons had been building in recent weeks within the organization,” Charania and Amick reported. “The coaching staff and players have been concerned about his availability and level of play, with some questioning his passion for the game, those sources said. But even when he did play, Simmons’ struggles in his first nine games this season were part of the Nets frustration as well.

“The level of exasperation toward Simmons bubbled to the surface on Oct. 29 when the Nets held a players-only meeting following a loss to the Pacers at Barclays Center. Sources with direct knowledge of the meeting, but who were granted anonymity so that they could speak freely say that in that meeting, Markieff Morris — a veteran leader on these Nets — spoke up in front of all of his teammates about how they need Simmons to succeed and that he has to respond when he deals with adversity on the court. Those sources all described a meeting where Simmons appeared to take Morris’ words in stride and was responsive and attentive throughout.”

Simmons missed the entire 2021-22 season recovering from a back injury. He also dealt with mental health challenges. The 26-year-old has the same agent as Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, so some people around the NBA believe Los Angeles could be a good fit for Simmons since he’s close and comfortable with LeBron and AD.

The Lakers Shouldn’t Want Simmons

The Lakers need more shooters around James and Davis. They are last in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage. With that said, Los Angeles shouldn’t want to acquire Simmons, who can’t shoot jumpers.

Simmons has made only five 3-pointers since entering the NBA. He’s not a threat offensively outside of the paint and the Lakers’ floor spacing would become even worse than it already is with him on the court. Simmons is also a poor free-throw shooter. The lefty is a career 59.6% shooter from the charity stripe.

James and the core players on the Lakers want general manager Rob Pelinka to trade the team’s first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 this season to upgrade the roster, according to a November 10 report from Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.  While Los Angeles should consider acquiring Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the Indiana Pacers since both players can shoot from the perimeter, Simmons isn’t a player the LakeShow should have on its radar.

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