A new week has begun and with it, a brand new slate of hypothetical Ben Simmons trade scenarios is making the rounds in NBA circles. Whether the Philadelphia 76ers actually consider moving the Aussie floor general remains to be seen. However, there’s no shortage of water-cooler GMs ready to pull the trigger for them.
Rumors and innuendo aside, though, teams around the league are definitely monitoring Simmons’ situation after a rough playoff run has left his future with Philly in doubt.
To that end, one cellar-dwelling Western Conference team with the ability to tender a reasonable offer for Simmons is apparently itching to do so.
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T-Wolves Jonesing for Simmons
As relayed by SKOR North over the weekend, league insider Darren Wolfson indicated that the Minnesota Timberwolves could make a play for Simmons. Per one of his sources, the DPOY runner-up is at or near the top of the team’s wish list.
“I texted with somebody that knows Ben Simmons incredibly well, that has working knowledge of all things NBA. My text the other day said, ‘How badly,’ because I know the Wolves are fans of Ben Simmons, but my text was, ‘how badly do the Wolves want to trade for Ben Simmons?’ This individual sent me a text, it was one word: ‘Badly.'”
Wolfson drove the point home from there.
“Make no mistake, the Wolves have trade interest in Ben Simmons.”
Regardless, there are a handful of teams around the Association that can make similarly intriguing offers. Namely, the Portland Trail Blazers.
“Whether Philly moves him — hey, does Portland offer CJ McCollum? Like, to me, that trade makes the most sense,” Wolfson said. “Portland moving CJ McCollum to Philadelphia, one-for-one, for Ben Simmons.”
Still, he opined that Wolves brass will likely make their intentions known for a potential Simmons trade.
“Make no mistake about this, [Wolves president] Gersson Rosas is going to show, well… or already has — going back many, many months — interest in Ben Simmons.”
D’Angelo Russell to Philly?
Given Simmons’ $33 million number for next season, matching salaries in a deal for the former No. 1 overall pick would be a tall order for most teams in the NBA. However, the Wolves are one of the squads who can make it happen.
In a one-for-one deal, Simmons for Wolves star D’Angelo Russell is a swap that works under the trade rules established the league’s CBA. And Minnesota could also offer an additional player — like Naz Reid, just as an example — and/or future picks to sweeten the pot for the Sixers.
Whether that would be Philly’s best incoming offer may be another matter entirely. However, Russell does have a lot of the attributes the Sixers are seeking.
Russell’s ability to generate offense for himself, as well as others, could be a major boon for Doc Rivers’ offense. And while the 2019 All-Star was once the whipping boy for the analytics crowd, his efficiency has improved dramatically in recent years.
Last season, Russell averaged 19.0 points, 5.8 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. He also connected on a career-best 38.7% of his 7.4 three-point attempts per game. Consequently, his effective field goal percentage of 52.3 was also a career-high.
At just 25 years old, Russell would give Sixers cornerstone Joel Embiid a long-term running mate who won’t shy away from taking the big shot as Simmons did during the Sixers’ latest playoff disappointment.