NBA rumors: Ben Simmons to Miami appearing unlikely

Sam Amick: As a follow-up to today’s column, a source with knowledge of Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons landscape is very much downplaying the Miami possibility. Also, as a sidenote, Simmons or his camp has not made any specific requests regarding possible landing spots.

More on Ben Simmons Trade?

O'Conner says the 76ers wanted a haul from the Spurs that included the Spurs sending Philadelphia one of their young core players and much more. "There's so much stuff floating out there right now about the Sixers having outrageous demands like wanting four first-round draft picks, and three pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs they say now. All these deals you hear about are outrageous. Nobody will do it for Ben Simmons."
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Sixers continue to canvass the league for Ben Simmons trades — armed with a steep asking price. Simmons and his agent, Klutch CEO Rich Paul, are in step with a move elsewhere. Draft night is always an ideal vehicle for a deal, but talks could continue into summer.
Yet while Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal both appear to be in their respective holding patterns when it comes to possibly requesting a trade, it’s looking increasingly likely that Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons will be on the move. One source close to the situation handicapped Miami, Toronto and Washington as the most likely landing spots. The Wizards scenario, of course, would only take place if Beal wound up deciding that it was time for a new chapter outside of the nation’s capital. The moving parts, as you can see, are sometimes part of the same puzzle.
The Sixers and Heat were unable to secure trades for him this past season. At that time, the Raptors’ asking price was too steep. Lowry also wanted some indication that his potential destination would be willing to provide a two-year extension of at least $25 million per year, sources said. He made $30 million in the final year of his Raptors deal. Apparently, his salary demands haven’t changed. A league source confirmed that Lowry’s free-agency asking price is $90 million over three seasons.
Not only is he a six-time All-Star, Lowry knows how to run a team. He’s a winner, a leader, and possesses a toughness that would benefit the Sixers. Adding him to the mix with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris would put the Sixers in great position to advance to the NBA Finals. “If there’s a sign-and-trade [with the Sixers] that can be done that can get him there, and he gets $25 to $30 million, he will consider it,” a source said.
In his appearance, Jake sheds a great deal of light on Beal’s situation in Washington and how a Ben Simmons-led offer from Philadelphia could appeal to the Wizards’ brass. At the end of the interview, as Jake alluded to some reporting on Simmons that he would publish on Sunday afternoon, he shared an exclusive and rather damning nugget about the icy current relationship between the Sixers and their embattled star. (bold emphasize is mine) "I’m not gonna write this in the story, but I’ll tell this to you guys and you guys can do what you want with it. They haven’t been able to really even get in touch with Ben since the season ended.
"Like, there was an intent to have a workout plan or whatever — like in any offseason. That’s always kind of been the case, that the Sixers haven’t been able to align with a development plan [for Ben] — that’s kind of what Yaron Weitzman wrote at Fox Sports in that big story. It just doesn’t sound like there’s ever been movement to come together on the same page to do that, and it hasn’t really worked this summer either. I think that’s not something that’s an encouraging sign for him being in Philadelphia in the future."
And league executives contacted by B/R continue to mention the possibility of the Sixers holding onto Simmons, should a desirable offer still fail to arise during the draft, in the hopes of Damian Lillard ultimately seeking to leave Portland. Talks between the Raptors and Sixers are considered to be the most advanced of any early conversations Philadelphia has had for the 25-year-old All-Star.
Multiple sources confirmed Sunday that the Toronto Raptors have emerged as a team with “significant” interest in Simmons. One source close to talks said discussions have not been substantial as of yet. Multiple sources including those close to talks said a proposed framework including Raptors guards Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the 4th overall pick in Thursday’s draft for Simmons was rejected by Toronto.
The 76ers’ quest to trade Ben Simmons hasn’t hit a crescendo yet … but it is stirring. It’s inevitable, according to league sources. It’s just not clear when it will happen, where he will go, and what the Sixers will receive in return. “Philadelphia has options,” a league source told The Inquirer. “They’re just not finite.”
While there’s still a chance the Sixers get something done sooner, several league sources believe it could happen in the preseason.
Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento and Toronto all showed interest in acquiring the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, sources said. Multiple executives from those teams, when contacted by B/R, mentioned their excitement at incorporating Simmons as a play-making forward—not at the point guard position he's played in Philadelphia.
Time is on Philadelphia's side. The Sixers are not required to trade Simmons, although the overwhelming expectation around the league is that he will be moved before the 2021-22 season tips. That could occur in August; team executives are anxiously awaiting Damian Lillard's return from the Tokyo Olympics, and a potential trade request that could occur if the All-Star guard doesn't endorse Portland's offseason roster adjustments. "I think Daryl is just waiting for the Dame situation to explode," said one team official.
Adam Aaronson: Woj says Sixers are engaged in trade talks [for Ben Simmons], taking on offers and making offers. Says the Sixers are looking for best possible player in return. Points out that Simmons has four years left on his deal, which means (A) the Sixers don’t have to do this now + (B) Ben has no leverage
Adam Aaronson: Woj says one player makes most sense for the Warriors in a trade: Bradley Beal. “Beal is not yet — and may not be — available.” “I don’t sense that Golden State is interested in the Ben Simmons talks.”
Simmons, the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn't be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.
Could the 76ers trade the No. 28 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft at the Barclays Center? A league source confirmed the team has had discussions about parting with the pick if they can get value in return. The Sixers are open to trading it for future assets or a veteran player. Trade discussions could heat up early next week, though it’s not a certainty that they’ll trade the pick. The Sixers also have a second-round pick (50th).
After multiple reports suggested Lillard could ask out of Portland, he clarified last week that such rumblings were inaccurate. Simmons, currently the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn’t be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.
Internally, team sources view a lot of the reported offers floated around the league as transparent attempts to lower Simmons' trade value below where it actually is. The Sixers are uninterested in packages returning multiple role players and picks in exchange for Simmons, according to a source familiar with the situation. As one specific example, a source told PhillyVoice the Sixers would not even entertain a discussion with the Sacramento Kings save for the inclusion of guard De'Aaron Fox in a potential deal, which they view simply as a starting point for talks.
Philadelphia's position on trading No. 28 is not contingent or related to the big ongoing discussion around Ben Simmons, whose future remains up in the air for the time being. The Sixers have continued to put a high sticker price on Simmons and are under no pressure or rush to deal him if the right opportunity doesn't present itself, according to sources familiar with the situation.
My understanding is that talks for Simmons to this point are just talks with teams expressing interest leading up to the draft. Certainly, there’s a high amount of interest in a guy that’s been an All-Star for several seasons and an All-Defensive player. Philly is in a win-now mode. They’re not trying to settle on anything or taking back future assets. You’ve got Joel Embiid in the prime of his career and an MVP candidate. The time for them is now, and the rest of their supporting cast is fitting around Embiid to shoot. Simmons, I’ve heard, has been in the gym working. He does recognize there’s a part of his game he needs to address with his shooting.
Marc Stein of the New York Times fanned those flames Tuesday when he reported the Kings were one of at least five teams showing interest in Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star who could transform Sacramento’s porous defense. The potential for a deal is there, but the 76ers are reportedly seeking an All-Star caliber player in return. De’Aaron Fox would probably fit that description, but sources have maintained the Kings are highly unlikely to trade their dynamic 23-year-old point guard.
Apparently, not everybody is as down on Simmons as Philadelphia fans. We spoke to an NBA scout who has a deep knowledge of the Sixers, and he remains in Simmons’ corner. The scout, who requested anonymity, spoke of Simmons in glowing terms. “I would be damned to give up on him and not get superior talent back,” the scout said.
A key for everything is if Simmons can bounce back from the postseason, where he shot just 15-for-45 from the foul line in the seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series loss to the Atlanta Hawks. “The guy is an All-Star-caliber player,” the scout said of Simmons. “He will never be the greatest shooter, but he does a whole lot for a team and I would not give up on him yet.”
Simmons has to brace for the very real possibility that he winds up with a team he doesn't choose. The 76ers have insisted they will not be rushed or pressured into trading Simmons no matter how many outsiders declare his partnership with Joel Embiid irreparable. Debate about Simmons' trade value and how much it has cratered in the wake of his miserable postseason has nonetheless bubbled all over the league since the buzzer sounded on Philadelphia's Game 7 home loss to Atlanta.
The length of Simmons’ contract, if not the dollars, only adds to his appeal to teams that do not typically attract free agents. He has four seasons left on his contract at nearly $150 million — and the team control that comes with that status, in most cases, is bound to outweigh any trepidation teams might feel about the pressure Simmons' agent Rich Paul can apply to dissuade them from pursuing him.
Yet even if Morey, deep down, wishes he had a do-over on his January or March dealings, he has shown little inclination to rush into shedding Simmons, which is undoubtedly a nod to one of the most complex situations he has ever faced. All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland’s CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer.
The Lakers, remember, face such severe financial restrictions that re-signing Dennis Schröder might be the splashiest move they can make this offseason. If they prove willing to trade Kyle Kuzma or even Talen Horton-Tucker to push those limits, that's still not going to get them into Simmons territory. To be clear: I don't see Lakerland as a good landing spot for Simmons even if they had the means to make it happen. Although Simmons and the Sixers both badly need a fresh start because of all the swirling angst from this season's unhappy ending and years of frustration building up to it, asking Simmons try to rebuild his game and self-confidence in the league's most withering spotlight seems particularly unwise.
The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic. Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.
“(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,” one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said. Make no mistake: Interest across the league in Simmons remains robust. He’s turning just 25 this month, was an All-NBA team member in 2019-20, is a two-time All-Defensive first-team member and a Rookie of the Year award winner. Simmons is under contract through 2025, making him the type of superstar talent that rarely becomes available at an attainable price at this juncture of his career.
I asked one executive from an opposing team if the Cavs could get the Sixers’ Ben Simmons for a package of Love and Sexton. While the money matches, the response was “no chance; Philly can do better” despite Simmons’ deflated value. Teams around the league are well aware of Sexton’s contract situation, which will hurt his value in trade talks. One source believed the Cavs should’ve traded Sexton last summer, knowing this was coming and didn’t believe the Cavs will get a pick in the top half of the draft for him because of the contract. The Cavs may not find a match and still bring Sexton back for next season, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.
Jeff Skversky: Seth Curry does NOT want the #Sixers to Trade Ben Simmons Curry tells me he believes the Sixers can win an NBA title with Simmons "I love playing with Ben... he's still a great player, he obviously had a rough playoffs... I look forward to playing with him again" #BenSimmons

https://twitter.com/JeffSkversky/status/1413645867459006469
In Minnesota, while the Wolves would certainly need Simmons to shoot more than zero times in the fourth quarter, they wouldn’t need him to be a No. 2 option on offense. Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell (the Timberwolves view Russell as a part of the core and want to keep it that way, sources said) give coach Chris Finch three accomplished offensive players to get buckets down the stretch.
Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey just started off his summer in style by dropping a ton of coins to purchase a very rare Ben Simmons Moment on NBA Top Shot. On Monday, Morey paid a whopping $4,444 to snag one of the most expensive collectibles under Simmons’ name in the NBA Top Shot Marketplace.
Chris Mannix: I hear from executives all the time that are loving this 'Ben Simmons trade value has cratered' conversation because they hope that Philadelphia believes that. I think his trade value is actually higher than than what's being publicly portrayed. But you're going to continue to hear a lot of the negativity around Ben Simmons. In other words, I think people value him pretty high across the league because I do think there's a belief that someone's going to figure the shooting thing out.
Simmons is still young. He’ll play the 2021-22 season at age of 25. Why can’t he improve his shooting? He doesn’t have to great from the line – just not awful. 5. One executive told me Cavs should even be willing to part with the No. 3 pick this season if that closed the deal for Simmons. Maybe they can also secure a first-round pick from the Sixers by expanding the deal.
Ben Simmons was ripped for passing up on a potential game-tying dunk late in Game 7 against the Hawks. But, Doc Rivers is having none of that talk ... giving nothing but high praise for the former #1 overall pick. "Ben's great," Rivers told us in Beverly Hills this week. "I want him back. He's terrific. He'll be great. I think he doesn't need a lot of fixing. He's gonna be great for us. He'll be great."
One of the most popular hypothetical trades among fans in Sacramento would send Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III to Philadelphia as part of a package for Ben Simmons. The Sacramento Bee submitted this proposal to a number of NBA agents and executives to get outside perspectives on what it would take to get a deal done.
One league source felt Simmons was a “pipe dream” for Sacramento, saying the 76ers would want Hield, Bagley and a minimum of three future first-round draft picks, including the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft. The source felt there was a better chance of an alternate deal involving 76ers forward Tobias Harris, suggesting Philadelphia might prefer to move Harris to clear salary cap space.
Another source questioned why either team would make that deal, specifically saying it doesn’t do enough to address Philadelphia’s need for leadership. The source suggested the Kings could make a serious play for Simmons if they make De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton available. Some believe the 76ers could make a move for Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard instead.
The Timberwolves are a team that’s in the mix for Ben Simmons. They’ve wanted an upgrade at the power forward position dating back to the trade deadline last year when they were in the mix for Aaron Gordon. Simmons and D’Angelo Russell played together at Montverde Academy, where they won back-to-back championships. If they ended up playing together, it would be an interesting pairing.
Even if he’s a playmaker, defender and superior athlete who can finish strong, scouts say it’s tough to have a player with a max contract on the roster if he’s unable to be on the court at closing time because of his shooting yips. The Knicks need more perimeter shooting — not less. “If the Knicks need a starting point guard, he’s not that guy,’’ one NBA scout said. “For him to be effective offensively, he needs the ball, and it conflicts with Randle. I’d say not a good fit.’’
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith caused a stir on Friday during an appearance on “First Take” where he called the notion of the Sixers not trying to trade Simmons a “damn lie.” The plugged-in reporter — Smith spent 16 years in the Philly media — cited sources saying that “calls have already been made” between the Sixers and Warriors. Simmons is very much on the trading block, but only for the right offer. Philadelphia is trying to claim that Philadelphia is not interested in moving Ben Simmons, let me tell y’all something, that’s a damn lie. That’s a damn lie. It’s just that they’re not interested in getting trash back for him. You make a solid bona fide offer, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to consider it. I believe the Golden State Warriors are going to make a push for Ben Simmons. I’m not saying it’s going to happen but calls have already been made. Things are percolating and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if something like that ended up going down. This notion that, ain’t no way that Philadelphia is moving him … hell yeah, they’ll move him if it’s the right offer. They won’t move him for garbage. They won’t move him for something that’s not a good offer but I’m telling you, I know a lot of people in Philly as you both know — let them get the right offer, Ben’s gone.
So, how legit is all this? Marcus Thompson of The Athletic is just about as plugged in on the Warriors as anyone out there, and he thinks there’s some fire causing this smoke. “I mean, Stephen A. is a renowned reporter with decades of experience,” Thompson told Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks on Friday. “I know, for sure he is tight with Joe Lacob. I’ve always thought this, if there’s a possibility to get Ben Simmons, especially for player price, you gotta at least kick the tires.
The Ben Simmons rumor mill continues to churn, and the latest potential suitor is a name you should expect to hear a ton up until draft night in late July: the Golden State Warriors. That's the word from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who has been a source of a lot of Simmons gossip this past week. On Friday's edition of First Take, here's what Smith had to say about the meeting between Simmons' representation and Philly's front office, in addition to potential interest on the Warriors' end.
Stephen A. Smith: Here's the reality — as it was reported, Rich Paul talked to the Philadelphia 76ers, and obviously, he's Ben Simmons' agent, so you're going to want some involvement. Didn't ask for a trade, but certainly if Ben Simmons were to be traded, he wants some say in where he goes. That's what the reality is. And in the end, Philadelphia is trying to claim that Philadelphia is not interested in moving Ben Simmons.
Stephen A. Smith: Let me tell y'all something, that's a damn lie. That's a damn lie. It's just that they're not interested in getting trash back for him. You make a solid, bonafide offer, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to consider it. I believe the Golden State Warriors are going to make a push for Ben Simmons, so keep your ears tuned, stay tuned. It's possible Ben Simmons could end up in Golden State.
Obviously, a move like that would have to come with Lillard’s blessing. Olshey has acknowledged that over the years, any move of note — a trade or free-agent signing — has been first run by Lillard to receive his endorsement. If Lillard thinks Simmons could work, then that’s the type of move that gives the Blazers a chance to make an instant jump because it addresses their biggest weakness: defense. I’ve also heard Boston could be interested in a player like McCollum, and I’ve always thought Marcus Smart and his defense would be a great pairing in Portland (obviously it would take more to make salaries match, but Smart would be a great start).
Discussions on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons' future with the franchise started in Chicago this week and included Simmons' agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and Sixers management, sources told ESPN. Paul met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons' Sixers career, sources said.
After Simmons' season ended with a frustrating performance in a seven-game Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Sixers are focused on a summer of work on his shooting. Simmons and coach Doc Rivers met this week to discuss a plan for improvement, sources said.
NBA Central: "In talking to executives around the league, there's a lot of interest in Ben Simmons. If he was made available on the market today, there would be maybe up to a dozen teams would make offers." - Brian Windhorst (Via ESPN)
Tom Moore: #Sixers president of bball operations Daryl Morey: 'My understanding is Ben is all in with the organization. We would expect the players to be willing to do whatever's necessary.' That's how he answered if Simmons would work with shooting coaches the #76ers want this summer.
Opinions differ on Philadelphia’s decision not to pursue Lowry harder, but there is a consensus around the league that Morey resisted because he’s angling for an even greater star. He’s thinking about stars like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal becoming available. CJ McCollum or Zach LaVine could also appeal to Philadelphia if they are put on the table.
After Philadelphia’s third exit in the semifinals in the past four seasons, HoopsHype polled four NBA executives for their thoughts on whether the 76ers should trade Simmons, a two-time All-Defensive player, and if he could bring back a star player that’s a better fit as part of a package with the hope of advancing past the semifinals for the first time since 2001. “I’d give him one more year and work hard on his free throw shooting and offensive game over the summer,” one NBA executive told HopsHype. “A pull-up mid-range jumper. His three-point shooting is a few years away if he ever gets it. You can’t rush things with him, he’s a mental midget right now with his shooting confidence. Not politically correct, but I couldn’t come up with anything else.”
“He’s not the perfect fit with Embiid,” the second NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Other players could complement Embiid better. Simmons is difficult to build a team around and is not good enough to be the central figure. I think the lack of free-throw shooting does hurt his value. I’d explore a trade. Guys like Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are two levels better than Simmons.”
For more context of how much Simmons’ free throw shooting hindered the 76ers, he missed more free throws in the playoffs (48) than the Phoenix Suns (29) and the Brooklyn Nets (28), as noted by StatMuse. “Ben’s lack of ability in the playoffs is a concern,” the third NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s good enough to get you to the playoffs and have a solid regular season, but the playoffs can be challenging for him as the game slows down and people’s weaknesses are exposed, which hurts the team. I’d explore a trade to see if I could get a couple of win-now players that fit the way they need to play with Embiid. A point guard or a wing that both can create shots for others and themselves.”
The fourth executive believes both of Rivers’ statements can be true and Simmons could find success with Philadelphia with a position change. “I’m not sure I’d trade him, but I’d make him a power forward and get a point guard,” the fourth NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Ben has totally disappeared. He needs to be more aggressive, especially in the playoffs. He’s content getting assists, rebounds, and defending, but to win in the playoffs they need more from him. He should be putting pressure on the opposing defense.”
Consider Portland. McCollum for Simmons as the main piece in a Blazers-Sixers deal is what executives around the league, just like fans, think is a reasonable trade that makes sense for both sides. Simmons could be like a supercharged Draymond Green to Damian Lillard’s Steph Curry. For years, the Warriors have shredded teams because Curry would often draw a trap and pass the ball to Draymond, who could get to the rim or make a clutch pass to a teammate. Simmons would thrive in a role like that since Lillard feels the same type of pressure in the pick-and-roll.
Lowe and Sixers analyst Spike Eskin discussed Simmons’ plummeting trade value on this week’s edition of The Lowe Post. His lack of shooting and floor spacing during the playoffs might be impacting his utility and the price he could draw on the NBA market. “I have news for Philly fans, the GMs of the other teams watch the playoffs very very closely. And there are definitely teams that I have talked to in the last 48 hours who were once in on Simmons, who say, at lease to me, it could be posturing, “eh, we’re a little less in than we used to be.”
However, Houston’s demand says something more about the value of Simmons around the league. And that could impact Philadelphia’s hopes of acquiring a player who can fill its void. Every team executive recognizes Simmons is one of the league’s best defenders and a dynamic open-floor playmaker. Perhaps in a different situation, he could fill a role resembling Giannis Antetokounmpo’s. But Simmons also has plenty of skeptics who see his inability to shoot as a fatal flaw.
Brian Windhorst: In speaking to individuals with knowledge, Ben Simmons was prepared to be traded today. I don't know if I can say expected to be traded but was prepared to be traded, was ready to be traded. They never told him he was going to be traded.
Joe Vardon: In the meantime, Daryl Morey tried to trade Ben Simmons off the Sixers. I’m told Ben is ‘fine’ after today’s events, but we will all have to monitor how this goes there with him and Joel and Daryl and Doc and the whole bit
Marc Stein: Houston is increasingly determined to complete a James Harden trade as soon as today, league sources say, and has chased the promising Maxey in addition to Simmons Philly is known to covet Houston's PJ Tucker in addition to Harden while the Nets have also remained in pursuit
The Rockets have pursued a 76ers package centered on All-NBA star Ben Simmons, sources said. Boston and Toronto have also expressed interest at various points. Simmons, a two-time All-Star, has continued to grow his game on the defensive end of the floor. As far as star talent, the Rockets would be able to acquire a player in Simmons whose talent level may not be available elsewhere.
Teams already widely known to have interest in Harden, such as the Nets and Sixers, would unsurprisingly also have interest in Beal, league sources say. Most people around the league consider Brooklyn a fairly unlikely destination to land a star considering it lacks a high-value player or asset to put into a deal. Philadelphia, however, remains a threat to acquire anyone if Daryl Morey is willing to give up Ben Simmons. How many draft picks or young players he’d be willing to add with Simmons may be the bigger question.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 290 more rumors
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September 24, 2021 | 10:17 am EDT Update

Darius Garland: 'Our expectations are to make the playoffs'

Have you guys talked about the playoffs as a goal for this team going into the new year? What are the expectations for the Cavaliers in that locker room? Darius Garland: In our locker room, our expectations are to make the playoffs. The league is very balanced this year, so it’s going to be tough, but I think we’ve got the guys and the mindset to do it.
Where do you feel you rank among the rest of the NBA point guards right now? Darius Garland: In my opinion, I think I’m up there for sure. I think last year I really solidified myself, and I think this year I have a lot to learn. I’m coming back for more this year, especially having the target on my back of these executives that are saying I’ll be the breakout player of the year. A lot of people are going to be coming at me and trying to see what I can do. I’m just coming in and trying to be aggressive, trying to play the game the right way, and trying to get wins.
What are your long-term goals looking ahead? Darius Garland: Team goals are winning championships and getting as many wins as we can. I want to be an All-Star, be the best I can be, and be one of the best players to ever play this game. That’s always been my goal since I picked up a basketball. I always wanted to be the best version of me. I want to be known around the league. I want to have my kids’ friends talk about remembering Darius Garland. A lot of All-Star appearances would be amazing. Hall of Fame.
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Storyline: Overtime Elite League
September 24, 2021 | 10:00 am EDT Update
Hart’s contract seems built to trade and we have another logjam of capable guards this year. Do you foresee any moves once the season starts to try and swap a guard or two for forward help? — Nicholas S. The Hart contract was a smart move by New Orleans to create maximum flexibility moving forward. They can use his deal as a way to extract assets from a team looking to open up cap space in the future, or they can get rid of his contract themselves to open up additional space. While I expect New Orleans to be active on the trade market, especially if they get off to a slow start, I’d look to the backcourt as an area they’re more likely to address than the forward position.
Either way, I do think there will be quality guards available later in the season. We see it every year at the trade deadline. I think New Orleans would prefer to see Graham exceed expectations and someone like Alexander-Walker, Murphy or Marshall have a breakout season to make the backcourt look better than it does going into the season. Even if that is true, the Pels will need to add a third star to this roster at some point down the road to give Zion and Ingram a real shot at competing in the West. The most realistic path for that is acquiring one of the next disgruntled guards to hit the trade market. Maybe it’ll happen as early as this season. You never know when the next upset superstar will pop up out of nowhere.