Darren Wolfson: He has planted some seeds including with Philadelphia. Sachin Gupta has reached out to Philadelphia. He has an excellent relationship with multiple people in the Philadelphia front office, including Daryl Morey, so Gupta has established contact officially with Philadelphia to register trade interest in Ben Simmons.
Darren Wolfson: However, the same hurdles remain. Daryl Morey at some point needs to stop asking for the moon. Presumably he will. But even then there is not a sense that the Philadelphia front office has interest in who the wolves are willing to make available. Gupta, like Gersson (Rosas) is not trading Anthony Edwards, is not trading Karl-Anthony Towns. The key is to find a third team.
Chris Mannix: When I talked to different team executives, I pretty consistently hear that they are hoping the Sixers hold their ground here. Maybe Ben Simmons will never come back to Philadelphia, that seems to be the most likely way this plays out. But there were executives that I talked to that were happy that the Sixers put that 8 million-plus lump payment into escrow and effectively are using it to dock Ben Simmons' pay while he's out.
A source familiar with the conversations between Simmons' camp and the Sixers told PhillyVoice that the only consistent or clear message this offseason was about the accelerated timeline Simmons has been evaluated on compared to other No. 1 overall picks. In most instances, agent Rich Paul and others have pointed out, top picks are sent to bad teams where they can figure out who they are and how their career is going to play out.
After being fined for missing Philadelphia's preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night — a penalty of roughly $360,000 — Simmons' representation had another discussion with the players association in which it was reiterated they would be unable to recoup the money being deducted from the $8.25 million sitting in escrow, sources say, and it was communicated to the Sixers that these early fines were perhaps higher than they expected.
The Sixers have had formal and informal discussions with Simmons' camp recently, which sources familiar with the situation characterize as scattered in message based on the day and the person speaking. As of yet, there seems to be no uniform consensus on what is best for Simmons. A source familiar with the conversations between Simmons' camp and the Sixers told PhillyVoice that the only consistent or clear message this offseason was about the accelerated timeline Simmons has been evaluated on compared to other No. 1 overall picks.
League sources confirm that the Pacers are among the teams who have talked to the Philadelphia 76ers about a potential Simmons trade. Caris LeVert was among the players brought up in those communications, per SNY sources. It is unknown if talks between Philadelphia and Indiana have progressed beyond run-of-the-mill contact.
Indiana is among several teams who have expressed interest in trading for Simmons, as reported earlier by The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sacramento Kings are also among that group of teams, per sources. Simmons is holding out of training camp and still has no plans to play for the Sixers in the immediate future.
In what could be another sign that Ben Simmons is serious about not returning to the Philadelphia area, the 76ers point guard put one of his residences up for sale and according to sources discussed the possibility of selling the other one. His place at The Ritz-Carlton Residences of Philadelphia was listed on Sunday for $3.1 million.
Sources added if he decides to sell his Moorestown home he could list for $4.9 million. He paid around $2.275 million for the South Jersey home that needed some work. Simmons purchased his place at the Ritz for $2.54 million in 2018.
The Sixers withheld $8.25 million of his salary Friday and placed the payment in an escrow account. Sources have said that was an option as the Sixers looked to ensure any fines for his training camp no-show and games missed could be deducted from that account moving forward.
Beginning with Monday's game against the Raptors, the Sixers plan to fine Simmons for every game -- both preseason and regular season -- that he is away from the team. For each game missed, Philadelphia will deduct roughly $360,000 from that $8.25 million placed in escrow. The fine falls under the agreement spelled out between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association in the Health and Safety Protocols, where a player who is unable to play due to "reasonable cause" will have his compensation for this season reduced by 1/91.6th (about 1.09%) of the player's base compensation for each game he misses.
In the event Simmons skips all four of the 76ers' preseason games, Simmons will lose roughly $1.4 million in fines. If he's traded, for example, on Nov. 19 -- a month into the regular season -- he will lose roughly $7.2 million in salary. This is not money Simmons can get back in the event Philadelphia eventually accedes to his wish to be traded. The team that chooses to trade for him cannot agree to pay Simmons the money he is owed in fines from Philadelphia. Instead, Simmons would only be able to get some, or all, of the fine money back by coming to a settlement with the 76ers, who would have no incentive to do so.
Anyway, Ben Simmons‘ agent, Rich Paul, told the 76ers early in the offseason the star wanted to be traded. Keith Pompey of The Inquirer: "The Sixers asked why Simmons wanted out, and Paul informed them that the point guard was mentally exhausted. The source believes they didn’t pay attention to Simmons’ state of mind or feelings about being in Philly because of the four years remaining on his contract."
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey went down that path recently when he cited Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ reported unhappiness in Green Bay. That squabble was a dominant storyline all summer only to see Rodgers eventually suit up and play well this season. Morey’s stance makes some sense, especially with Simmons having four years left on his deal, and sources around the league maintain that if there is one NBA executive who has the stomach to endure the outside noise and circus that can come with a prolonged standoff, it is Morey.
The 76ers are doing everything they can to maximize their championship window while Embiid is in his prime. Now sources connected to those Rockets days and that short-lived Timberwolves era wonder how ugly it will get in Philadelphia. Sources say that Simmons has no intention of showing up. The Sixers, at least for now, aren’t giving in. Will Simmons be willing to show up and make things as frontal and uncomfortable as Butler and Harden were willing to do?
Harden also said he hasn’t focused much on Ben Simmons’ situation with the 76ers, which bears obvious parallels with his own drama in Houston last season before forcing a deal to the Nets. “I stay out of it. That’s not my situation. Mine was totally different. But hey, I’m here in Brooklyn,” Harden said. “It was a little uncomfortable for me just because I don’t like a lot of attention, especially negative or draining energy.“I like to be in a good place. I like to smile and have people around me smiling and good vibes. So it was kind of a little uncomfortable for me. But I had to go through it and on the other side I’m happy to where I am now. Hopefully everybody forgot about it. Hopefully everybody moved on and everybody is great.”
The 76ers are looking for trade partners, with USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt reporting the team is "targeting" squads in the Western Conference. However, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Friday the Indiana Pacers may emerge as a contender, calling them "the sleeper team in this whole situation" on ESPN's The Jump (2:30 mark). Simmons, 25, has been at odds with the Sixers since their loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in June. Simmons averaged just 9.9 points per game in that series, and he didn't attempt a shot in the fourth quarter of Game 7.
A league source said the Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs are still inquiring about Simmons’ availability. But for now Simmons remains with Philly — and is being punished for missing time. The Sixers withheld $8.25 million of his salary Friday and placed the payment in an escrow account, sources confirmed. His contract is structured for him to receive 50% of this season’s $33 million salary by Oct. 1.
However, a source expects Simmons to receive all of the money owed to him. The belief is whichever team that acquires him is going to waive the fines the Sixers put in place. The Sixers’ position that they’re not going to trade Simmons just to make a trade has been consistent.
Ben Simmons ... MVP candidate??? Metta Sandiford-Artest thinks so ... telling TMZ Sports he truly believes the Philadelphia 76ers guard (at least for now, that is) ... will be one of the best players in the NBA this season. The NBA champ had high praises for the disgruntled star when we spoke with him this week ... and despite all the drama surrounding his trade demand, Metta says it will be a breakthrough season for the 25-year-old. "This kid is going to be an MVP candidate," the former All-Star emphatically expressed. "Just because he’s a superstar doesn’t mean he needs to be a shooter."
Sandiford-Artest offered some advice to Simmons and other players that might find themselves in a similar situation. "You don’t request trades when you don’t have to, 'cause you don’t want to mess with your legacy," he said. "Stay with one team as long as you can. Build that comfort. Build your legacy."
Friday marked Day 5 of the Simmons holdout in Philly. It was also the due date for another advance payment — worth 25% of his $33 million salary — that Simmons was scheduled to receive before the start of the season. The Sixers have been adamant that they will not publicly discuss whether they would cut or withhold this check after Simmons received a similar payout in August. One source close to the process said Thursday that the Simmons camp is confident that the player will ultimately receive the money, either after a trade or when the standoff is eventually resolved by other means, whether or not he is paid now.
The financial element is one of the key factors that makes this standoff so unique compared to previous NBA holdouts. Simmons is in Year 2 of a five-year, $177 million contract. He has already earned, according to the source, in the neighborhood of $100 million in his career when factoring in Simmons' rookie contract, his shoe deal and endorsements and the Year 1 salary from his current contract — plus this season’s first 25 percent installment. This is not a holdout motivated by the pursuit of greater riches. Simmons has already been paid handsomely in his first five seasons and thus would appear to have the financial wherewithal to keep sitting in an attempt to force the Sixers to blink and trade him.
The challenge for Simmons and his agent Rich Paul: They are up against a similarly resolute foe. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, as we've been writing and saying for months, was never terribly concerned about locker-room tensions or unflattering headlines in Houston. League observers consistently describe him as more apt than most front-office executives to stomach short-term discomfort if it enhances his chances down the road of a more appetizing Simmons trade offer materializing than those currently available.
Marc Stein: Ben Simmons is due 25 percent of his salary ($8.25 million) today, but whether or not the Sixers issue the check on Day 5 of Ben's holdout one source close to the process says Simmons' camp believes it will ultimately get the money either way after a trade or separate resolution.
Derek Bodner: Embiid (more): "We've always had shooters, and I feel like i can really play with anybody, and I can make anybody be better on the court...We are a better team with him. There's no question about it. We still hope that he changes his mind."
Derek Bodner: Embiid (continued): "The situation is weird, disappointing, borderline kinda disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives. Some guys rely on the team to be successful to stay in the league and make money somehow."
Kyle Neubeck: Joel Embiid, who does note the Sixers are better with Ben Simmons around, says today that report suggesting they're not a fit together is "borderline disrespectful" to other guys on the team in a wide-ranging answer
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid on Ben, partial: "Our teams have always been built around his needs. So it's just kind of surprising to see. Even going back to, the reason we signed Al, we got rid of Jimmy, which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure he needed the ball in his hands."
Noah Levick: Joel Embiid said the Ben Simmons situation is “weird, disappointing, borderline disrespectful” in an extended answer a few minutes ago. Embiid reiterates he hopes Simmons comes to camp and said the team is better with him. Said he’s focused on the players here.
I've talked to people who say Portland's been hesitant to move (CJ McCollum) for Ben Simmons because they think CJ is a better, more polished adult player than Ben Simmons, who was a bit of a mystery right now.
THE SPURS TALKED with the Philadelphia 76ers about Ben Simmons, but those talks have not gotten far, sources said. They sniffed around intriguing young free agents -- including Lauri Markkanen and John Collins, sources said -- but snared neither.
Simmons believes his partnership with Embiid has run its course and it is another reason why he wants out from the team. After the team finished up practice on Tuesday, coach Doc Rivers brushed off the latest report. “I don’t have a reaction to that because Ben’s not here,” Riverstold reporters. “I do believe at some point, he will be and if he isn’t, you got another story. I don’t get caught up in that. Right now I’m going to focus on the guys that are on the floor. I think that’s more important.”
Jon Krawczynski: (Sachin Gupta) absolutely is a fan of Ben Simmons. He was in Philadelphia when Ben Simmons first got there. I do think that overall, just the organization's position is that Ben Simmons is a perfect fit for their roster for what they need and what Ben Simmons needs from a team around him. So I do think that they are going to continue to pursue Ben Simmons aggressively, I can't say, you know, 100% that, you know, they're in the driver's seat, or it's going to happen or anything like that. But I do know that the dismissal of Gersson Rosas has not poured any cold water on their pursuit of Simmons, they really think that he can be a difference maker.
Ramona Shelburne: Ben Simmons is willing to sit as long as it takes to. When you talk to people close to Ben, I say ,"Okay, worst-case scenario it takes all year. Would he sit all year?" And the answer right now is: "Yes."
Things can change fast, but league sources don’t sense that a deal is anywhere close right now. The Sixers still hope Simmons will return to the team so they can experiment with his role, or increase his value and help create more trade possibilities. On media day, Morey compared the Simmons situation to that of Aaron Rodgers, who threatened to leave the Green Bay Packers but ended up returning for one more season. The Sixers hope Simmons will choose to do the same.
Six weeks ago, a Sixers contingent including Doc Rivers, executives Daryl Morey and Elton Brand, and owner Josh Harris flew to Los Angeles hoping to convince Ben Simmons to return to Philadelphia for training camp, or at least gain clarity on why he wants out. But sources with knowledge of the meeting say Simmons, who was accompanied by his agent, Rich Paul, gave no clear reason for why he demanded to be traded earlier in the offseason.
League sources say the primary motivation for Klutch Sports’ aggressive holdout is to steer him to a team built around him on offense. No matter the roster makeup in Philly, he will only ever be no. 2 as long as Embiid is healthy.
Jeff Zillgitt: Within this story is obviously the Ben Simmons situation, and while the Sixers said yesterday they want him on the court, they're also targeting the Western Conference for potential trade partners, I'm told.
Noah Levick: From Doc Rivers: -Still expects Ben Simmons to be here at some point -More players should feel free to push ball up court without him -Second unit enjoyed playing with Niang, his shooting
A source confirmed that the Sixers’ words failed to produce the expected effect within Simmons’ camp.
A source close to the situation told The Inquirer Tuesday morning that Simmons’ tenure in Philadelphia “is done. He’s not coming back.” The source also noted Simmons was never going to meet with teammates last week in Los Angeles because his decision had already been made.
The Sixers planned to take a jet to meet with Simmons and attempt to persuade him to commit to playing for the Sixers this season. However, they were instructed not to come because Simmons did not want to meet with them. “He had already closed the book,” the source said.
A source confirmed to The Inquirer that Simmons has decided his career would better off without playing alongside Embiid, where there have been spacing issues on offense.
Yet of all the problem areas to explore, there’s none more unyielding and impossible to ignore than this: People who have intimate knowledge of how he sees this situation continue to insist that he’s done playing with Embiid. There’s nothing personal about this choice, it seems, but the 25-year-old Simmons has clearly decided that his career is better off without Embiid blocking the runways in the paint that he so badly needs to succeed.
As he sees it, sources say, the organization’s choice to build its basketball ecosystem around Embiid’s style simply isn’t conducive to the way he needs to play. So while Embiid insisted to reporters on Monday that he wants Simmons back, this much is clear: The feeling is not mutual. “It has run its course,” the source said of their pairing.
“I watched last night a player lead their team to victory where a thousand pounds of digital ink were spilled on how much he would never play for that team again,” Morey had said of the Green Bay Packers star who led a last-second win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night after looking destined for a divorce with the franchise just months ago. “Look, every situation is different, but we have a lot of optimism that we can make it work here. …Ben’s a great player, and we expect him back. We expect him to be a 76er.” Cue the response. “It’s total bullshit,” one source with knowledge of Simmons’ outlook said of Morey’s analysis.
Truth be told, sources say Simmons thought he would have been traded by now. When he met with the Sixers brass at the Los Angeles home of his agent, Rich Paul, in August, telling managing partner Josh Harris in direct fashion that he no longer wanted to play for his club, the goal was to avoid this sort of mess. Sources say the Sixers had come equipped with all sorts of reasons that he should want to stay, and even supported the argument with a statistically based presentation featuring the success of the Embiid-Simmons pairing. But his view, his uneasy feelings about the problematic fit remained unchanged.
Early on last season, when the intel coming the Philadelphia 76ers guard’s way indicated that he’d likely be trading places with then Rockets-star James Harden, Simmons was so convinced that new Sixers president Daryl Morey was about to reunite with his favorite franchise player that he started researching on the real estate front. If you had to pinpoint a moment when emotional ties were severed between Simmons and the only NBA franchise he has ever known, that may have been it.
Noah Levick: Tobias Harris on Ben Simmons: "I've done my part of reaching out and communicating. The situation is what it is at this point. ... Training camp starts tomorrow and I don't think he's coming through that door, so we have to push on right now."
Derek Bodner: Shake Milton, on whether the Simmons uncertainty could be a distraction: "Not really. I guess if you let it. The guys in the locker room, we kinda have our head on straight, and we recognize it's gonna be a whirlwind (until it's resolved)."
Noah Levick: Joel Embiid on Ben Simmons: "If I didn't love playing with Ben Simmons, I'm honest, I would say it." Embiid says it's time for the Sixers to take the next step and emphasizes he's disappointed with the current situation (Simmons not being here).
Derek Bodner: Embiid says he's disappointed that Simmons situation has deteriorated. "I really hope he changes his mind..I do love playing with him because he adds so much to our team. We've been building this team around us. I don't see it as 'This is my team'. I don't care about any of that"
Tom Moore: #Sixers star center Joel Embiid on his personal relationship with Ben Simmons: 'I think last year we were closer than before.'
Keith Pompey: Joel Embiid was asked what the team needs from Simmons if he returns: "We've all seen the videos. So that would help." Embiid said Simmons has the potential to be that good. #Sixers
Chris Mannix: Embiid with a long, long pause when asked by @Tim Bontemps what he would say to Simmons. "I'm disappointed. We haven't won anything ... I got to be better, everyone has got to be better. But in the regular season, we have been so dominant ... we know it's working."
Chris Mannix: Embiid on Simmons: "I know he is going through a lot ... we just have to let him be himself."
Michael Lee: Joel Embiid on calling Ben Simmons passing up a late dunk a turning point after Game 7. "I don’t have any regrets because I didn’t call out anybody. I just stated the facts. I’m honest & I cant lie. I don’t feel like I put anybody in a situation where they had to feel bad."
Derek Bodner: Embiid, on Philly fans: "Fans have the right to act the way they want to. Personally, I would not want to be in another city...It's only fair for them to be pissed off when we lose...We get paid based on them coming to games and buying jerseys. I'm grateful for it."
Noah Levick: Joel Embiid: Trade rumors are "part of the business. ... You can't get mad at that. That's just the way it is." Embiid recalls "the whole city wanted" him traded two years, and "you don't really get treated as a human being. ... Then again, it is a business."
Chris Mannix: Morey says there is "a lot of hope" for reconciliation between the Sixers and Simmons. "We have a lot of optimism we can make it work here."
Noah Levick: Daryl Morey says Sixers "were not looking to trade" Ben Simmons and that Simmons' reps asked for a trade after the season in Chicago. "We are disappointed he's not here," Morey says of Simmons. He says his focus is to "do what gives us the best chance to win a championship.'
Michael Lee: Doc Rivers on how his comments after Game 7 about Ben Simmons were taken out of context: "Who do you think defended Ben more? I think the world of him as a player." On if that comment is why Ben wants out of Philadelphia: "I don't believe that's one of the problems."
Kyle Neubeck: Doc Rivers continues to dispute how his G7 comments were received..."What I said, and you can watch over and over again when you watch it, there's something called intent...I wasn't answering any question...I just wasn't talking about it."
However, sources have said Simmons isn’t concerned about the fine. Money plays no role in his decision-making. Simmons is doing all the things that will lead to a trade.
Dane Moore: Whoever you talk to around the league, it's a lot of the same thing when it comes to a Ben Simmons trade: "It all starts Monday". If/when Simmons does not show up to training camp, that's when the trade market really starts to materialize, and real offers start coming in.
76ers swingman Danny Green addressed the Simmons situation this week on the latest episode of his “Inside the Green Room” podcast. “This has nothing to do with the organization,” said Green. “This has to do with us. We just want to meet with him on a personal level, on a human being, friend level. If he still considers us friends, we don’t know if that’s the case yet or not.
“I know he still communicates with some of the guys,” Green added. “I haven’t been in communication with him. But I would love to meet with him and sit down and talk just to see where his head was at. Let him know that we have his back and we want him back and just give him some friendly advice. Just first and foremost as a human being, as a professional.”
Matt Moore: Quick note: the general reaction from sources close to the Nuggets regarding reports that they are “frontrunners” for a Simmons deal is general confusion. “Who would we even trade?” is a common refrain.
Matt Moore: I inquired about the suggested idea that Jamal Murray would be the centerpiece of a trade. “Not sure if that’s more insulting to Jamal or us to be honest” was the response.
NBA Central: Brian Windhorst says Ben Simmons playing in front of Sixers fans is a ‘factor’ in him wanting out of Philadelphia “He doesn’t want to be in front of those fans. …I don’t think he intends to ever show his face there again.” (Via @Sirius XM NBA ) pic.twitter.com/Ltt0ccwARf
NBA Central: "I talked to Rich Paul, and Rich Paul was the one who told me, 'We want out. We want out. And we'll go to whatever degree we have to go to in order to get out. We want to be anywhere but in Philadelphia.'" - @RealJayWilliams (Via ESPN | h/t Bleacher Report) pic.twitter.com/8TzNQQi1LB
The core leaders on the 76ers — such as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle — and most of the team were set to take a jet to see Simmons before being turned away, sources said. Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade.
The 76ers’ training camp begins this upcoming week, with Media Day on Monday. Simmons has mentally checked out as a member of the 76ers, sources said, meaning whether or not he ever appears in Philadelphia this season the organization may never again receive the same dedicated player.
So far, the 76ers have not received an offer they deem enough to move Simmons and the franchise has wanted Simmons back to rejoin an Eastern Conference contender. Philadelphia has no trade imminent, although teams are calling, according to sources. Simmons has four years and $147 million left on his max contract.
Darren Wolfson: Sachin Gupta wants Ben Simmons. The same hurdles remain, but can he now be more creative on three-team scenarios? That still seems to be the key. But make not mistake: Gupta is all in on acquiring Ben Simmons.
Darren Wolfson: (Gupta) is going to work his ass off to try to acquire Ben Simmons and he has full authority to do so. Glen Taylor, Marc Lore, Alex Rodriguez... Trust me, they've given him the green light
According to sources, the 76ers would want limited or no protections on those firsts in hopes of flipping them for an All-Star caliber player around the deadline. That, alone, would be incredibly risky for Cleveland -- a still-rebuilding team that’s won 60 combined games over the last three years and is only projected to win around 26 this season. Even the addition of Simmons wouldn’t change the 2021-22 forecast that much, as the Cavs wouldn’t have enough short-term floor-spacers or shooters around the limited Simmons. Any deal would mean rejiggering the roster quite a bit.
Because Gupta has been elevated from inside the organization, it is conceivable that the Wolves can move right along and continue their talks with the Sixers without much of a diversion. Gupta and Morey worked together for years in Houston so there is background there, and sources say Gupta was involved in some of the talks with the Sixers earlier this summer before the conflict with Rosas reached its head.
Skeptical teams observing the Sixers believe that the interest in reconciling with Simmons stems more from their hope to recoup a bit more trade leverage than the infinitesimal amount they currently possess rather than a genuine attempt to mend the relationship. Whatever the motivations are for trying to coax Simmons back to the squad, withholding a large seven-figure sum after a few missed practices does not sound like the wisest olive branch to extend.
May 25, 2022 | 12:14 pm EDT Update
This is why, as I’ve already written, the Nets’ championship hopes hinge on an amicable solution with Kyrie Irving, whose personal decision not to get vaccinated and unpredictable injury history have left the Nets hesitant, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets’ thought process, outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension.
In layman’s terms, if Irving leaves the Nets, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Durant becomes frustrated with the organization’s ability to put championship pieces around him. They failed to do so at the beginning of last season, with none of their top offseason acquisitions – James Johnson, DeAndre Bembry or Jevon Carter – finishing the year in Brooklyn.
Justin Kubatko: LeBron James earned All-NBA honors for the 18th time, three more selections than any other player. He’s the first player to be named to one of the All-NBA teams in his 19th season or later. James is the only player to earn at least four All-NBA selections for three franchises. pic.twitter.com/mkmieBfOyQ
May 25, 2022 | 11:21 am EDT Update
SI: Who’s the toughest cover in the league? Grant Williams: For guys like myself, the hardest people to guard are like Darius Garland. Small, shifty point guards. The longer, taller guys, and the physical guys I’m OK with. I do a good job on Darius and guys like that, but for me, it’s always been a small, small, small point guard that’s really shifty and quick.
SI: You have a long history with Bam. Does that help at all? Grant Williams: I feel like he’s gotten so much better since then. So as much as it could help, he’s improved so much that it’s one of those things, I can’t really go off my high school scouting report. As the years have gone on, it’s gotten more and more fun to play against him because of how much he’s improved, how much he continually wants to get better and improve his shot. I’m really just excited to play him throughout my career.
SI: Not to kick this off by asking a weird question, but how does your body feel right now? You’ve taken as much punishment in this playoff run as any player that I can remember since I started covering the league. Have you ever felt like you do right now, playing basketball? Grant Williams: Definitely not. But hey, this is what the playoffs and everything is about, right? It’s my role to deal with. It’s something you embrace, and I feel like it’s just even more fun because it’s something that I feel is unique and I don’t see many guys that can do the same things that I do.