Sacramento and Atlanta have been among the most engaged recently in talks on Simmons, sources said, but team officials with those organizations doubt the 76ers will lower the price threshold for Simmons before Feb. 10. Between now and Feb. 10, the 76ers will continue taking calls and examining potential framework of offers presented to them. The Charlotte Hornets have been among new teams placing a Simmons inquiry to the 76ers, but there’s been nothing substantive, sources said. In return for Simmons, the 76ers have wanted a top-level All-Star or a package featuring a bevy of first-round draft picks for Simmons.
For Simmons, the 76ers have asked the Kings for guard Tyrese Haliburton and multiple first-round picks, and asked for a package around John Collins and multiple first-round picks from the Hawks along with Atlanta taking on Tobias Harris, multiple sources tell The Athletic. The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Kings do not plan to move De’Aaron Fox or Haliburton and want to build around them.
Marc Stein on Ben Simmons: When I talk to executives with other teams, it just comes up so much so often, that these rival executives think that Daryl’s real goal here is to wait till the offseason and try to do a sign and trade for James Harden. Now, that would be super complicated, because it would hard cap the Sixers and they would definitely have to shed much more salary. Much more salary than just Ben here. So the mathematics of a Harden sign and trade, even if Harden is like ‘I want to go to Philly’, even if that happened, that would be difficult.
There has been a lot of talks recently about Simmons and the Kings, specifically when it comes to De’Aaron Fox, but there is no guarantee that a deal gets done despite Morey’s connection with Kings GM Monte McNair. Morey on that situation: I can tell you that for sure, there are deals with the Sacramento Kings that I think would work. Will those deals ever happen? I have no idea. Are there just trade deals with the Kings? Probably not. Is it multiple teams? Probably, but for sure there are deals that are possible that would go over our line.
Daryl Morey: The one thing we’re in agreement on is we would like a win-win trade. A trade that helps the 76ers, it’s most likely going to help Ben in his mind and what his goals are and we’d like to accomplish that by by the February 10 deadline. If we don’t, then I think this foundation that we’ve established, we’ll see if that can help us work through things if there isn’t a trade. Trades are hard to do. It takes two, right? That’s again why I feel the fans frustration like just get a deal done.
Daryl Morey: I do think with how great Joel is, our line has moved down a little bit because Joel has lifted us into contention by his sheer will of greatness this year, that does push the number of deals that we would do more likely, if that makes any sense. It’s more likely than we can find ones that get us into that top few contention because of our great Joel is playing. So we are sitting right now on a better chance of a trade that actually helps Joel and the Sixers and Tobias and our whole team. There’s a better chance that happens because of how great Joel has been.
The Athletic: The Kings have no interest in taking back Tobias Harris in a Ben Simmons deal, a source tells @Sam Amick. Sacramento still sees a pathway to Simmons. pic.twitter.com/un5dZ2HcKu
One source said Sacramento is considering to package Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes and two first-round picks for Simmons, Harris and Matisse Thybulle. However, the source said the Sixers aren’t interested in that package.
Another source said the Sixers haven’t received a formal trade offer at this time. The source added that none of those talks have involved Thybulle or any of the Sixers’ other young players. Speaking of Thybulle specifically, the source added the second-team All-Defensive selection is close to being untouchable.
League executives believe the Sixers are content with holding onto Simmons throughout this season and moving him in the offseason.
Last week, the Atlanta Hawks considered sending John Collins, Cam Reddish and a first-rounder to the Sixers in exchange for Simmons, according to sources. However, the talks stopped after Harris’ name was brought in the deal.
But, intent on getting Simmons, a source said the Kings are trying to find a way to acquire Harris, who’s also a power forward. They would either trade for him or find a third team willing to take Harris in a multi-team trade, according to a league source. At this time, the two sides have not gained any significant traction on a deal ahead of the Feb. 10 deadline.
As for which scenario is looking the most likely, I’ll say this much: While I’m fairly confident that Atlanta has zero interest in taking on both Simmons and Harris in a John Collins-centric deal, the Kings appear to be considering the idea more seriously.
Make no mistake, sources close to Simmons continue to insist that he’ll sit out the entire season if a deal isn’t done by the deadline. To DA’s point, that means the postseason would be unnecessarily brutal on Embiid when it comes to the load he’s asked to carry. There is, not surprisingly, serious skepticism from Simmons’ side as to the authenticity of Embiid’s messaging. “Joel is Daryl, and Daryl is Joel,” as one source put it.
"He's never going to play another game in Philly," Barkley said. "The fans won't forgive him." "They have to make a trade," he added. "You have to move on from a bad relationship. They're not using him and Joel Embiid has been playing great this year, so they're wasting his talents." Barkley -- who spent 8 seasons with the Sixers -- is familiar with how ruthless Philly fans can be ... recalling times they were hard on him when he played for the org. "I know those fans very well," Barkley said. "I thought my name was Charles Barkley Son of a Bitch for a long time when I was there."
Winning without Simmons certainly makes it easier for Embiid to adopt that stance ... and Philadelphia will be going for its 11th victory in 13 games Monday afternoon at Washington on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Perhaps he has also been sold on a concept that executives with a growing number of rival teams say they see as Morey's new preferred scenario: Keeping Simmons beyond the trade deadline to exhaust every last possibility for executing a complicated sign-and-trade in the offseason that finally brings James Harden to Philadelphia and routes Simmons to Brooklyn.
The Philadelphia 76ers guard is reportedly "open" to sitting out for the entire 2021-22 season despite the fines he's racking up, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "I think the sense is, if it takes the entire season to trade him, if it takes all year for the Sixers to find a trade that's acceptable for them, he's prepared for that," Shelburne said Monday on NBA Today.
The Sixers have similarly continued to discuss three-team trade packages with Sacramento, Indiana and Minnesota, the three most consistent suitors mentioned for Simmons dating back to the offseason. In those frameworks, Philadelphia is still requesting a team to reroute one of the Sixers' coveted All-Star-caliber partners for Joel Embiid.
Philadelphia brass, sources told B/R, is still optimistic that Simmons may even be willing to return to game action in that event, although league personnel familiar with Simmons' side believe he has no interest in ever wearing a Sixers uniform again.
A team could stack contracts to match Harris' lofty number, but the more likely scenario has Simmons staying in Philadelphia past the deadline, short of a new trade candidate emerging. The 76ers do not view holding onto Simmons as punting on a season of Embiid's prime, a common criticism made by rival front offices. Philadelphia brass, sources told B/R, is still optimistic that Simmons may even be willing to return to game action in that event, although league personnel familiar with Simmons' side believe he has no interest in ever wearing a Sixers uniform again.
Teams have been waiting on the looming uncertainty regarding Damian Lillard's health in Portland. There remains a strong possibility that Lillard's upcoming abdominal surgery is season-ending, sources told B/R, after Lillard first contemplated going under the knife this past offseason following the Tokyo Olympics. Lillard has struggled playing through abdominal tendinopathy that has plagued him for several seasons. If Lillard were to be ruled out for the remainder of the year, rival executives are hoping it would force Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers to lower their asking price on Ben Simmons.
The Sixers are targeting top 25-caliber players for trades, but those kinds of assets have yet to be made available to them in offers, sources said. Some teams have even described the Sixers' asking price for a Simmons' deal as growing in price -- not declining, sources told ESPN.
The meeting at a downtown Philadelphia restaurant was described as amicable and professional, but Morey reiterated the franchise's stance that it won't make a Simmons trade unless it believes the return gives it a chance to compete for a championship, sources said.
Paul told the Sixers that Simmons' mental health hurdles continue to preclude him from a return to play with the team, and the desire for a trade out of Philadelphia remains in place, sources said.
According to , the Simmons-Sixers ordeal may not be close to being over. NBA Today host/ESPN reporter Malika Andrews asked him if there was any movement on the Simmons trade front. “Malika, there is no movement. And listen, we may be in this situation all the way until the NBA Draft,” Wojnarowski said.
Of course, the Denver Nuggets guard's dad, Doc, has been trying to mend the relationship between Ben and the Sixers org. for months now ... but BS has yet to play a minute of hoops for Philly this season. And when we asked Austin about the situation, he says he doesn't see Simmons playing for the Sixers ever again. "No man, probably not. I don’t think so," Rivers answered. "If he hasn’t suited up by now, then I don’t think so."
Austin says his dad and the team have done everything in their power to retain the 25-year-old ... despite Simmons' desire to be traded. "S***, they tried, bro," he said. "Look how long it’s been. I think they tried to keep him. He wants to go somewhere else obviously." Rivers ultimately wishes BS well saying ... "I just want the young man to be happy. He’s talented. He’s a great player."
Noah Levick: Doc Rivers says he doesn’t think Ben Simmons is any closer to returning to the Sixers, but he isn’t sure. Rivers notes Simmons “does come into the facility. ... Hopefully we’ll know sooner or later.”
But we forget sometimes that executives are ultra-competitive in their professions as well, and it’s safe to say Morey has no interest in executing a bad deal because of pressure ever again. As an aside, sources say that’s also the reason the Sixers have zero interest in the prospect of swapping Simmons for Westbrook now and alleviating the Lakers’ fit concerns with their superstar trio.
Accurate or not, this years-long pattern of Simmons struggling with confidence issues on the floor is seen by some interested teams as a separate matter from the mental-health struggles that he has cited as his reason for staying off it. In terms of Simmons’ eventual availability with a new team, the message has been sent that he would be ready to play after a few weeks of intensified conditioning and court action.
The Sixers’ messaging on Simmons, both publicly and privately, is that they want Simmons back in the lineup. And they have conveyed to teams that they aren’t lowering the asking price for Simmons, sources familiar with the Sixers told Sports Illustrated, continuing to insist any package includes an established All-Star.
Will that position change as we get closer to the Feb. 10 trade deadline? Teams I’ve talked to aren’t so sure Philly will have the stomach to reject a solid but not spectacular offer for Simmons, not with the Eastern Conference’s looking so competitive and Joel Embiid’s playing at an MVP level.
The Philadelphia 76ers have begun to attach Tobias Harris to their trade discussions of Ben Simmons, according to Brian Windhorst and Marc J. Spears of ESPN. Harris signed a five-year, $180 million deal with the 76ers during the 2019 offseason. "I'm hearing they want to include Tobias Harris," said Spears of Philadelphia's trade talks with the Atlanta Hawks. "Me too," replied Windhorst. "That is the word out there because they can't necessarily get an All-Star they want in return right now, as the Sixers have continued their talks, they've talked to teams about trading Tobias and Ben."
Brian Windhorst: From what I understand, the Wolves have pretty much offered every asset package they could possibly offer for Ben Simmons, except for Anthony Edwards and Karl Towns.
Darren Wolfson: Ben Simmons of Philadelphia remains squarely on the Wolves radar. The Wolves would love just like many months ago to find a way to acquire Ben Simmons. Easier said than done.
The Atlanta Hawks, meanwhile, have emerged as a new Simmons suitor to watch, sources say, as last season’s Eastern Conference Cinderellas slide farther and farther away from the levels they reached during an unexpected run to the conference finals. The Hawks awoke Monday, courtesy of a 2-4 road trip, marooned in 12th in the East at 17-22 and down to No. 27 leaguewide in defense rating.
One source close to the situation insisted to me over the weekend that the Sixers have little-to-no hope of success if their intent is to let the trade deadline pass without dealing Simmons and then try to lobby him to rejoin the squad for the regular season's stretch run as well as the postseason. While still listed as out game after game for personal reasons while focusing on his mental health, Simmons is said to be holding firm on his pledge to never again wear the uniform of the team that selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Sixers continue to regard the hard-for-outsiders-to-fathom prospect of convincing Ben Simmons to come back to the team this season as their "goal No. 1," according to a source familiar with Philadelphia's thinking.
The Knicks have internally discussed pathways to landing Ben Simmons, but New York has never phoned Sixers brass regarding any potential deal structure, league sources told B/R. It is difficult to imagine a direct scenario where the Knicks could meet Philadelphia's lofty asking price of a top-tier player without including a third team.
Canvassing several NBA sources, none like the idea of Randle and Simmons on the floor together. And yet, the Knicks certainly have the assets needed to get a deal done if the Sixers are looking for multiple prospects. Or if they find a third team open to sending a playoff-ready veteran to Philadelphia in exchange for New York's many young players.
The 76ers will be discussing various Simmons trade scenarios for the next month, but actually trading him before the NBA’s annual trade buzzer is not their preferred scenario. As it stands. Convincing Simmons to rejoin the team and play as much of the remaining schedule as possible, according to one source familiar with Philadelphia’s thinking, is the club’s “goal No. 1” when it comes to the wayward playmaker.
More than four weeks are left in this trade season for the Sixers to amend that stance, but the vibe they continue to emit — no matter how loudly outsiders push back — is that they believe waiting can indeed enhance their chances of acquiring a Damian Lillard or a Bradley Beal for Simmons. As it stands.
Use the Kings as an example. Sacramento is now reportedly open to making De’Aaron Fox and/or Tyrese Haliburton available in the right deals, and those aren’t equal propositions for Philadelphia. In all likelihood, sources say, a deal involving Fox would almost certainly have to be a three-team deal, moving Fox to another party in order to get what the Sixers think they need.
NBA Central: “It was suggested to me this week by one league source to keep an eye on Atlanta as an emerging suitor for Philadelphia’s Simmons” 👀 - @Marc Stein pic.twitter.com/TeSsRdPe3j
Still, sources say the Sixers — who have been on the lookout for an All-Star in return for Simmons for so long now — have continued to ask for a massive haul in return while frustrating some suitors along the way. As such, some team executives remain convinced that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is still waiting for Portland’s Damian Lillard or Washington’s Bradley Beal to be made available down the line (i.e. this summer at the earliest).
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a team to watch in the Simmons sweepstakes: COVID issues in the league has cooled a lot of thetrade talk around the league, but as players start to get back, teams get their rosters back, you know Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, I think you’ll see the Sixers start to reengage teams. Certainly he is no closer to agreeing to come back to play with the Sixers this season and they don’t have any real traction on atrade yet.Trade deadline is February 10 and you can expect teams who’ve been engaged with Philly previously Indiana, Sacramento, Minnesota among them but but here’s an interesting thing to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers who before they went on this really incredible start to the season had been engaged with Philly on Simmons. They’ve got some really intriguing assets either in a straight deal with Philly or perhaps a three or four team deal and we reported earlier J.B. Bickerstaff agreed to a new extension today through ’26-’27, but this is a team in Cleveland that’s just a game out of third place.
Marc Stein: The Sixers have been adamant that they're not going to trade Ben Simmons until their demands are met in terms of a return package. And I would say that they've convinced many, many people around the league that they're going to stick with that stance, even if that takes them past this trade deadline. And even if that means that they can't trade Simmons until the offseason.
Windhorst: There’s been a number of rumors that have gone around the league in the last few weeks about Ben Simmons trade involving the Morey quarangular. That would be Philadelphia, Minnesota, the Kings, and the Rockets. … Let’s just say there has been a lot of discussion. I’ve had executives tell me that when Ben Simmons gets traded, it will include one or more of the quadrangular. Not that that’s where Ben Simmons would go, but they would probably be involved, because a Ben Simmons trade likely ends up being a multi-team deal. MacMahon: The Rockets have been much better lately, but they get ‘Hey, this is very early in a rebuild.’ So they’re trying to wedge their way in and get ammo for a rebuild, for sure.
Ryan Ward: Fresh odds have surfaced on Ben Simmons regarding his next team. The Lakers are rumored to be interested in Simmons, but 5 teams have better odds, according to @betonline_ag: FAVORITE - Blazers: 7/4 Pacers: 2/1 Pelicans: 5/2 Knicks: 3/1 Celtics: 5/1 LAKERS: 7/1
Jake Fischer: The only outgoing call I confirmed was to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons… When I got the information that they called about Ben, the conversation pretty much was, “We’re interested in Ben. How would we get there?” The obvious solution is Russell Westbrook. He’s not a player on that Sixers list that they have.
Jake Fischer: They don’t have to move Ben just to move him and not waste a year of Embiid’s prime. They really believe that if they move Simmons for anything less than they value him, they’ll be sacrificing multiple years of Embiid’s prime for not maximizing Simmons as a trade asset. Their ultimate goal still remains to have Simmons get back on the court and join them because that was their goal I think moving into the offseason anyway. Simmons became a trade candidate when he requested it. I think the Sixers were definitely open to moving him for someone like Damian Lillard, Beal, or Harden. Short of that, they believe Ben is their best chance right now and the best possible addition to get this team back to where they were last year as the top team in the East.
Michael Scotto: I heard the Pelicans discussed trading future first-round picks and pick swaps with the 76ers for Ben Simmons, league sources told HoopsHype. Brandon Ingram was not involved in the talks, I’m told, at least as of now. With Zion Williamson’s latest injury setback, it’s unclear how that could move the needle for the Pelicans in their efforts to land Simmons.
One source said the Kings are still shopping a package including Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III in hopes of getting a good player in return. Sources told The Bee over the summer the Kings had expressed interest in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam.
The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are among the teams interested in Simmons, sources said, although it’s unclear how much traction Philadelphia truly has on any move.
The 76ers are ramping up their efforts to spark multi-team trade scenarios to move Simmons, sources said, and a fresh pool of teams has emerged as potential destinations.
Nevertheless, the Sixers are becoming more engaged on multiple fronts in talks centered on Simmons. Philadelphia has been aggressively trying to assemble two- and three-team deal structures to land a package that would include a top 25-level player, sources said.
As the Philadelphia 76ers begin to gather momentum in trade conversations for All-Star guard Ben Simmons, the Portland Trail Blazers reiterated that one of the Sixers' top targets -- All-NBA guard Damian Lillard -- is not available to be discussed, sources told ESPN.
The Sixers have long targeted Lillard, who reaffirmed his desire to stay in Portland around the start of the team's training camp. After the recent firing of president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, Cronin has publicly and privately said the franchise plans to keep building around Lillard. The Blazers have been open to discussing a deal for Simmons centered on guard CJ McCollum, but that conversation never gathered traction, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN reporting with @Zach Lowe: Philadelphia's trade conversations on Ben Simmons gathering momentum in recent days. More teams engaged, more two and three-way deal structure talks ongoing as 76ers try to land a Top 25 player for Simmons.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Much of the renewed impetus surrounds Wednesday, when 84 percent of the league's 446 players become eligible to be traded. Right now, 65 percent are eligible to be moved.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Portland Trail Blazers have made clear to the 76ers that All-NBA guard Damian Lillard is not available to be discussed in trade talks and franchise has no interest in moving him, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lillard has repeatedly expressed his commitment to want to remain in Portland on his current long-term contract, and interim GM Joe Cronin has also expressed a strong commitment to continue building the franchise around the All-NBA guard.
The Pacers' sudden willingness to field trade calls on two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis and center Myles Turner, perhaps even to entertain a rebuild, does not bring them closer to the potential acquisition of Philadelphia's Ben Simmons. The 76ers have essentially completed a third of their season at 14-12 but league sources say that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey continues to hold firm on his ambitions in a Simmons deal, seeking a return package for Simmons headlined by a player from the Damian Lillard/Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tier.
The Spurs also know that Popovich's presence still resonates with many players more than anything else San Antonio has to offer as a destination. Example: I've heard that Ben Simmons would welcome the opportunity to play for Popovich if the Spurs found a way to acquire him.
San Antonio’s efforts to crash the trade hunt for Simmons have been well-chronicled, but Philadelphia remains intent on holding out for Portland's Damian Lillard or another proven All-Star in a Simmons swap. While the Spurs clearly don't have one, it's nonetheless tantalizing to picture Simmons landing in the Alamo City so Popovich and Chip Engelland, San Antonio's renowned shooting coach, can lead the cause to rehabilitate the wayward Simmons' game.
According to Shams Charania, Lillard is interested in playing with Simmons and a package including McCollum, a first-round pick, and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons has been discussed. Such a deal would be close to a wash salary-wise, which is important considering both teams are a little over the luxury tax. While completely blowing it up now is at least worth a discussion, it’s probably more pragmatic to acquire an All-Star like Simmons first, especially at that price, and try to compete.
This preseason's trade talks between Portland and Philadelphia never advanced beyond early framework discussions, sources told B/R. Olshey believed the Blazers were constructed well enough to compete in the Western Conference and had little interest in parting ways with McCollum.
Interestingly, after the rumors of Lillard wanting to play with Simmons spread like wildfire online, the Australian guard caught win of the development and showed his interest in it. While the 25-year-old didn’t directly address it, he did “like” a post on Bleacher Report Instagram discussing the news.
Goorjian hopes Simmons finds a new home to help him flourish again and stressed that the Aussie had full support from the Boomers camp moving forward. “I just hope right now he finds a team, finds a place where he’s comfortable and gets on with his career,” he said. “I said to him: ‘We’re here for you. You’ve had some situations at Philly with your teammates, with the coach, with the organisation. You come here; we’ll welcome you with open arms. I think you’re going to love the environment, it’s your call.’”
Lillard intends to give the Trail Blazers organization time to find its next leader of basketball operations. But beyond the front office component, the face of the franchise still wants significant changes to the roster. Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lillard would like to play with Philadelphia 76ers three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. The Trail Blazers’ league-worst defense would instantly improve, and sharing a backcourt with a non-shooter could work given Lillard’s high-volume usage.
Sources say the Trail Blazers, under Olshey, discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons, moving CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons to Philadelphia. The 76ers, sources said, at one point asked the Trail Blazers for McCollum and multiple draft picks and multiple draft swaps, which Portland rejected. Olshey maintained significant confidence in the roster he constructed. Now, it’s unclear if there’s a deal to be had with the 76ers. But with Olshey out, who among chair Jody Allen, vice chair Bert Kolde and Cronin would be the one making the call on a Simmons trade or any acquisition designed to alleviate Lillard’s concerns?
Justin Grasso: Doc Rivers on Ben Simmons before tonight's game vs. #Celtics: "I literally don't even talk about it. I coach the team and the guys that I can see every day. I let Daryl and Elton deal with all of the other stuff." #Sixers
Jon Johnson: Per source, Ben Simmons spent some time this afternoon at WFC for individual practice with handful of coaches, staff.
I think Ben Simmons wanted to be traded. I feel like, he felt like how it was; people weren’t loyal to him. I do feel like he’s dealing with some stuff. I do. There were times last year that the 76ers were like making it seem like he was bothered by one thing, but they knew it was something else. I just feel like he feels betrayed. He feels like nobody really has his back, and it’s time to move on. Not only that. He also knows that the average Philadelphian wants him outta here. They don’t want him. There’s gonna be no more hostile place for Ben Simmons to play than in Philadelphia.
I think they gotta trade him, man. A lot of it will be predicated on how successful the 76ers are. I feel like if the 76ers are successful, and they have a chance of going deep in the playoffs, I can see them making a move and bringing somebody in. If the 76ers are struggling, and they decide to shut it down, then I can see them holding off until they can get somebody, maybe in free agency, in a sign and trade type of thing. I can’t see Ben Simmons being here and being a part of the team long term. Who knows? Never say never, but I don’t really see this marriage where you fine this dude, and you’re doing all this other stuff ,and he decides to all of a sudden come out and play. I can’t see that happening
August 18, 2022 | 2:54 am EDT Update
The Lakers remain active in trade talks and would part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in the right deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said in an appearance on Sports Center (video link). Those picks “have a lot of value in the marketplace” if they’re unprotected, Wojnarowski states. He adds that L.A. would be willing to give them up in a trade for Kyrie Irving, but the Nets haven’t been interested.
Those around the team were confident that James signing an extension was likely, considering how much he’s enjoyed playing for the Lakers and living in Los Angeles. The primary complication in James’ decision was that he has been privately adamant that the Lakers still need to improve the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources have told The Athletic.
The Lakers have explored runs at Nets point guard Kyrie Irving ($36.9 million expiring contract), but it’s unclear if Brooklyn would want to include Joe Harris’ $19.9 million salary for 2023-24 as well. The Pacers have Buddy Hield, a former client of Lakers executive Rob Pelinka, at $18.6-23.3 million for next season (depending on incentives). Los Angeles has also explored a deal for Pacers center Myles Turner with the expectation that he would extend or re-sign beyond his current $17.5-20 million salary for 2022-23.
Per several sources connected to teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers have not been willing to part with significant draft capital to get off Westbrook’s contract. But that may have been tied to uncertainty surrounding James’ future, which is now put to rest.
The sense from those sources: Westbrook will have a new home when the Lakers green-light trades that include both their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders. What’s still unclear is whether L.A. will be willing to do so.
Rob Pelinka has been “very active” in attempting to add more shooting and size to the Los Angeles Lakers roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN. “Rob Pelinka has still been very active, even in the dog days of August. He’s been on the phone a lot, he’s still trying to find deals to bring in more shooting, perhaps some size. And so I think those conversations continue all the way into training camp,” said Wojnarowski on NBA Today.
Among the executives with whom I spoke, a Boston deal with Jaylen Brown as the centerpiece appears to be the unofficial front-runner here. In general terms, sources say the Nets are using the fact that the Celtics (and perhaps other teams) have made their second-best player available as a baseline of sorts in negotiations. Translation: If you’re still trying to discuss a Durant deal without putting your second-best talent on the table, then just stop wasting everyone’s time and bow out of this race.