One of the interesting possibilities I’ve heard being kicked around is Russell for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. The 76ers could use a point guard who can score and run the show — and shoot. Some believe the pairing of Simmons and big man Joel Embiid isn’t viable in their pursuit of a championship. Simmons, as one source told me, is probably the best player the Warriors could possibly get for Russell, just considering the needs of the Warriors and their potential trade partners.
Despite being a lightning rod for criticism in Philadelphia, Simmons says he enjoys playing in front of a passionate fan base. "I love being in Philadelphia. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said. "I think this is the perfect place for me. I just handle [criticism] how it comes."
Simmons will have a poison pill restriction in his contract as part of signing a rookie extension. For trade purposes, his $8.1M salary for 2019-20 would be used as outgoing salary and $29.6M (the average over 6 years) would count as incoming for the acquiring team.
It’s tough to predict which players may be available in the long term, but as I wrote in January: Teams are monitoring Ben Simmons (Sixers), Devin Booker (Suns), and Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves). All three players are locked into contracts now, but if the Suns or Wolves keep losing or if Simmons takes a back seat in Philadelphia, situations can sour. The true prize, however, will hit the market in two years.
It’s early in that process. Leonard’s shot just fell through the net. But one Western Conference executive brought up a name that could be a Simmons trade target: LeBron James. “I think they very well might explore that,” said a rival executive of Philadelphia. James doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but he shares the same Klutch Sports agent with Ben Simmons in Rich Paul. James has two seasons left on his deal before he can become a free agent.
A source who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity said general manager Elton Brand made it known to ownership sometime before the trade deadline that the organization needed to consider trading Simmons because the youngster was simply not coachable, and was a regular-season player annually exposed in the playoffs. The idea was immediately shot down, and Brand was told that Simmons and Embiid were untouchable – even if Anthony Davis was the prize.
Philadelphia, which could put together a fairly competitive offer for Davis, currently has no plans to pursue a deal, sources said. Rich Paul of Klutch Sports represents Davis and Ben Simmons and a deal centered on swapping his clients is highly unlikely. The 6-foot-10 All-Star desires to play in a big market that’s committed to winning, sources said.
The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly sought Ben Simmons in a potential Jimmy Butler trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Thursday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor explained just how high the Timberwolves' asking price is for their disgruntled shooting guard: "One of the things that I've heard from a handful of sources is that—with the Sixers for example—the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, 'We need Ben Simmons in a deal.'"
Philadelphia's potential package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and the Heat's unprotected 2021 pick didn't move the needle. It's unclear if the Spurs had interest in Markelle Fultz; the two sides never discussed him seriously, and the Sixers would not have parted with him, sources say. The Spurs made it clear any deal with Philly would require Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid (likely Simmons), and the Sixers weren't going anywhere near that, league sources say.
September 24, 2022 | 12:44 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has agreed on a two-year, $64 million extension that’ll take him through 2025-2026, his agent Sam Goldfeder of @Excelbasketball tells ESPN. New deal ties McCollum to Pels for four years and $133M.
Clutch Points: It appears Kevin Durant is not too thrilled about being the 8th best player in the NBA 👀 pic.twitter.com/6FTNuhpY8t
September 24, 2022 | 6:35 am EDT Update
Tom Thibodeau has full rotation autonomy and support from Knicks president Leon Rose, even if it means the popular younger players aren’t getting much playing time. That was the message on the team’s in-house network from Rose, who was asked if the front office has set guidelines on playing time distribution. “There’s no edicts,” Rose said. “We love our young players, too. Believe me. Thibs is the coach. Thibs decides who plays, how many minutes, what the rotations are. The one thing I know about Thibs – he’s going to make decisions based on who is going to win us a basketball game. That’s his role and I have full confidence in that.”
Rose was emphatic in his support for Thibodeau on Friday. “Thibs, two years ago – Coach of the Year,” Rose added. “He’s been twice Coach of the Year in his career. I’m so excited about starting on Tuesday. And one of the reasons I’m so excited is having Thibs lead the group.”