Each of Minnesota, Golden State, Sacramento and San Antonio has been consistently linked as a top Simmons destination, yet the overwhelming sense among league insiders continues to be that Simmons, for now, is expected to remain a Sixer once training camp opens on September 28—barring a change of temperature with Damian Lillard in Portland. That appears to be the ever-important undercurrent to what has been routinely described as a “James Harden-like” package Philadelphia is seeking for any Simmons return.
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Minnesota officials remain motivated in landing Simmons. That would be nothing short of a home run fulfilling the Timberwolves’ ongoing search for a starting forward, and Simmons could do so in a playmaking role similar to Draymond Green. But it would be challenging for Minnesota to send back enough talent for Philly to reroute in a hypothetical Lillard pursuit, while still adding Simmons to a rising young Minnesota core.
A trade for Ben Simmons remains highly unlikely for the Wolves. League sources say Daryl Morey continues to ask for a king’s ransom for Simmons. So far, he has not found any takers. Will the asking price drop?
If it does, Rosas will try to get back in with some kind of multi-team trade that nets Morey the win-now return that he covets while getting one of the best defensive players in the game to offensive-minded Minnesota. He has not completely given up on the possibility of adding Simmons, sources say, which falls in line with his previous playing of the market.
The Timberwolves pride themselves on getting involved in trade talks, and sources indicate that they will be in on Simmons in addition to a number of other players as they try to vault into playoff contention in the Western Conference.
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.
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September 17, 2021 | 3:09 pm EDT Update
After securing the arrival of Mario Hezonja, Russian team UNICS Kazan will announce soon the signing of former NBA guard OJ Mayo.
Ramona Shelburne: For those who like fun real estate details. The Sterlings still own the Clippers current practice facility in Playa Vista. Ballmer said he has an option to buy it in 2024, but he’s not sure yet what he’ll do because their new complex in Inglewood is scheduled to open same year.
The Austin Spurs today announced that the team has named Petar Božić head coach, making him the eighth head coach in franchise history. In addition, David Pilipovich, Nick Saenz and Jesse Childs have been named assistant coaches on his staff, joining Kenny Trevino who enters his second season as an assistant.
September 17, 2021 | 2:45 pm EDT Update
What’s the message the veterans are giving you about the last two years? Rick Carlisle: They were disappointed with how things have gone. We’ve got to work at developing a style of play so we can maximize what we have here. Exactly what that means as far as number of wins or the playoffs, I don’t know. I’m reluctant to get into that kind of stuff, because sometimes you can set goals that are too low.
How have you evolved as a coach since you were here before? Rick Carlisle: Going from Detroit to here, they were different types of teams, and going to Dallas—the Dallas team was way different than any team I had coached before. It was much more of an outside-shooting team … so it was an amazing experience and education how to work with that kind of group. And then the game has changed an awful lot in the last 13 years, particularly in the last five. Because of the pace, the skill level, the 3-point shot, everything. In two years there, we set offensive records on points per possessions, and then this last year Brooklyn beat both. These records are going to keep falling because of the skill level.
How has the talent level progressed in the NBA? Rick Carlisle: The game has evolved to where the skill of shooting is so decisively important. If you can’t shoot, it’s very hard to be a high-level player in today’s game. The next phase of NBA basketball is going to be the centers shooting 3’s and driving the ball and making plays. Guys like [Kristaps] Porzingis are already doing it. Guys like Anthony Davis are already doing it. We’ve got [Domantas] Sabonis, who is a playmaking big, who’s working on his long-range shooting. That opens up so many possibilities for any player in this league.