Lakers Star ‘Not on Sixers’ List’ for Ben Simmons Trade: Report

Ben Simmons Sixers

Getty The Sixers aren't interested in a Ben Simmons-for-Russell Westbrook swap.

The Philadelphia 76ers are not interested in acquiring a particular superstar.

The Sixers are being linked to many different star players as they continue to find a trade partner for Ben Simmons. It’s clear that Philadelphia is seeking a top-25 player in return for their All-Star point guard, who has yet to play a single game this season.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Sixers have had discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers regarding a possible deal for Russell Westbrook. However, the Sixers aren’t interested in acquiring the 33-year-old point guard.

“One of those players is Ben Simmons. The Athletic reported Los Angeles’ interest in Simmons on Monday, and Westbrook’s salary, outside of James’ and Davis’, is the only number on the Lakers’ books that can match Simmons’ own lofty deal,” says Fischer. “Even then, Westbrook is not a player on the Sixers’ list of hopeful returns, league sources told B/R, and conversations with the Lakers never developed very far.”

Why Sixers Aren’t Interested in Westbrook

Fischer notes that the Lakers have had internal discussions regarding moving Westbrook, who is earning a salary of over $44 million per season. However, his massive deal (two years, $91 million) is making it impossible to move him. Simmons (average salary of over $35 million per season) and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ duo of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio ($49 million combined cap figure this season) are a handful of possible trade options for the Lakers.

In other words, there just aren’t many options for the Lakers — and the Sixers aren’t interested in absorbing Westbrook’s massive deal for their 25-year-old franchise point guard.

The Lakers have gotten off to a rough start in the Westbrook era, going just 15-13 through the first 28 games of the season. They’ve also failed to muster more than a three-game winning streak.

The 2021-22 Lakers have regressed on defense — 26th in the league in scoring defense — and rank 23rd in offensive rating and 18th in net rating. By comparison, the 2020-21 Lakers ranked second in scoring defense and eighth in net rating.

It’s no secret that Westbrook’s ball-dominant, turnover-heavy, low-efficient shooting style of play has been a detriment to his teams. The Sixers are clearly not interested in taking on Westbrook’s style of play — and his contract.

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Sixers Targeting Other Stars

Other stars rumored in a possible trade deal with the Sixers would be targets in the 2022 offseason. Fischer mentions the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and the Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden as possible options.

“Philadelphia has always operated with an expectation that a true star will ultimately become available,” says Fischer. “Damian Lillard has preached his unwavering commitment to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Sixers and other teams around the league remain optimistic he could eventually request a trade prior to the 2022-23 season. Philadelphia just needs one other All-Star to seek a new team. Maybe it will be Bradley Beal, who has yet to re-sign in Washington. James Harden declined a contract extension with Brooklyn earlier this season and would certainly become a key target for the Sixers if he were to reach the open market next summer.”

The Sixers would have to hold off until the summer to pull off one of these hypothetical trades. Considering how much things are starting to heat up on the trade market for Philadelphia and the Sixers’ own lackluster record (15-13) through 28 games, they may not be able to wait that long to unload Simmons.


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