The chances of Ben Simmons getting traded to the Miami Heat are very slim, especially considering his perceived rift with Jimmy Butler. Still, every available player somehow finds their way shopping for beachfront property in South Florida. Simmons is no different.
First, it was NBC Sports’ Brian Scalabrine blowing the trade winds by saying head coach Erik Spoelstra could “fix Ben Simmons.” That fabled Miami Heat Culture was the perfect sling for the broken All-Star. Now Greg Cote of the Miami Herald has entered the conversation as he debated “peril vs. possibility” in a recent column.
Cote weighs the negatives and positives of a potential Heat trade for Simmons but ultimately decides there’s too much risk — unless, of course, the Sixers would be willing to take “Tyler Herro and a bucket of beach sand” for their enigmatic point guard. Not likely since a new report suggests Philadelphia only wants an “All-Star caliber player in return.”
Then, there is the issue of Simmons’ attitude. Cote relayed a recent episode from his podcast where NBA Insider Izzy Gutierrez details a personality problem:
ESPN NBA insider/sideline reporter Izzy Gutierrez, in the episode of my podcast that was out June 28: “People don’t like Ben Simmons in the league. His teammates don’t like Ben. There’s just something about him. He is an unlikable dude.
And in that locker room he’s unlikable. What coach have you covered that you asked him, ‘Can you win a championship with this guy?’ and they answer, ‘I don’t know how to answer that.’
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Heat Could Look at Dwight Howard
If the Miami Heat are serious about adding another big man to the rotation then one name to monitor would be Dwight Howard. The eight-time All-Star is an unrestricted free agent after playing on the veteran minimum (one year, $2.5 million) for the Sixers in 2020.
Howard probably would prefer to return to Philly, but they have bigger decisions to make. And other areas of need to address in free agency. The one-time NBA champion proved he could still play last season in a bench role: 7.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 0.9 blocks in 17.3 minutes per game.
The passionate 6-foot-10 center did struggle with technical fouls, but that was more out of reputation than egregious behavior. Heat fans will remember Howard for picking a fight with Udonis Haslem. Or vice versa. You be the judge.
Butler Questioned Simmons’ Mental Makeup
The relationship between Butler and Simmons would be the biggest wild card in a potential trade. There were several reports claiming that Butler left Philly due to the fact that then-coach Brett Brown wouldn’t let him be the primary ball-handler. Simmons was and remains the point guard there.
Butler and Simmons were Sixers teammates for half a season — 67 total games, including playoffs — and that was enough for Butler to know the situation wasn’t for him. The fiery forward didn’t like Simmons’ “mental makeup” or the “hierarchy of the organization,” per The Athletic. A reunion in South Beach? Not likely.