Atlantic Notes: B. Simmons, Lakers, Gasol, Knicks

Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told reporters over the weekend that Ben Simmons had reached out to the team asking if he could get together with Johnson during the offseason to talk to him about playing in the NBA as a point guard with size. While Johnson suggested he’d be on board if the Sixers, the Lakers, and the NBA all signed off, it sounds like it won’t happen.

Appearing on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (Twitter link), Sixers GM Elton Brand said today that Lakers GM Rob Pelinka contacted him to ask for authorization and Brand said no “over a month ago.” Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) hears a different account, citing a source who says that the 76ers initiated the discussion about Simmons wanting to meet with Johnson, with Pelinka calling Brand back to say the Lakers weren’t comfortable with it.

While it’s not clear which team shot down the idea first, neither side appears to be on board, so presumably Simmons and Johnson won’t meet this summer. The fact that the young 76er is represented by Rich Paul is sure to generate some speculation, but Ganguli tweets that Simmons’ desire to talk to Johnson was simply due to their on-court similarities, and he intends to be a Sixer for a long time.

Ganguli’s report won’t necessarily satisfy the NBA though. According to league spokesperson Mike Bass, the NBA is looking into whether there was any communication between Simmons and the Lakers that violated league rules (Twitter link via Ganguli).

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Marc Gasol waived the 15% trade kicker on his contract to help finalize the trade sending him to Toronto last week, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks on The Lowe Post podcast. While the trade bonus would only have been worth about $1.29MM, Gasol’s decision could save the Raptors about $3.2MM in projected tax penalties, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).
  • Speaking of Gasol, the Raptors are still experimenting with a fluid frontcourt rotation as they figure out how to best use Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse said today (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a wide-ranging look at what the summer could bring for the Knicks and their two maximum-salary contract slots, from the “utopia” outcome to the “doomsday” scenario.
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22 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: B. Simmons, Lakers, Gasol, Knicks

  1. xabial

    Best case “dream” scenario: Knicks land #1 overall pick. Trade it for Anthony Davis.

    Sign Durant and Kyrie, who lead us to the promised land

    New Big 3:

    • jeremy

      Like you said dream scenario. Knowing the Knicks they be lucky to get one guy.

    • cubsfan2489

      They can only barely afford 2 max contracts. Adding Davis would be impossible. But I forgot, you know everything.

      • They could trade for AD after signing 2 max FAs. They couldn’t complete the trade for Davis until after the FAs sign, but that’s not a big issue, since Pels are likely to wait to see what shakes out in the moratorium.

        2 max FAs may be very unlikely, but if it happens, then an AD trade on top of that actually isn’t so unlikely if the NYK have a top 3 pick.

        The most unlikely scenarios are an AD trade without having first signed at least one max FA, or a max FA without either a second max FA or a subsequent AD trade.

        • padam

          Uh, they wouldn’t be able to trade for him unless NOLA takes back salary. Knicks won’t have enough to make it happen.

          • Wrong. They could do it several ways, but just a top 3 pick plus 4 of the 1st/2nd year players is enough. Don’t even need Robinson and Dotson for matching.

        • x%sure

          Why would they have to wait until FAs sign? They can start working on it after the May 25 draw, setting it officially for July 1. On that date they could absorb Davis’ salary entirely under their cap anyway, so it’s all about what it takes to sell Demps. Unless I missed some detail, not for the first time.
          Then Irving is motivated to sign. Durant should probably stay at GSW, more his style. I would not max 3 players, that’s just impractical daydreaming.

          • They can’t use the cap space to absorb AD and still have enough left for the KD and KI. Because of the way the rules work, they couldn’t even effect any deal for AD (even if they traded everyone on the roster plus the 1st signed, i.e., 7 players in total with a cap charge of 25 mm +) and still have enough cap space left for KD and KI. But they can sign them first, and then trade for AD.

            FA space with AD and nobody else on the roster and no rights to a 1st round pick: AD (27 mm +), Noah (6.4 mm) and 9 roster holds. At 110 mm cap, equals about 67 mm. KD and KI would require 71 mm.

            FA space with their current six players and the 1st round pick: 25 mm + for 7 players, Noah, and 3 roster holds. At 110 mm cap, is almost 74 mm. Enough to sign KD and KI. Once signed, the other 7 guys (or 5-6 of them, or fewer with some Morey tricks) can be traded for AD under matching rules.

            Of course, it could all be arranged during the moratorium or shortly thereafter. And of course it’s a fantasy. But this one won’t die because of cap.

            • x%sure

              Thank you. Although I can’t imagine KD leaving the West and walking into the NY media circus and the sharp tongues. Anyway 3 maxes is too many.

              So Irving would have to make the first move, after the bargaining. But Demps could leave him hanging and he’s not above that. Dramarama! If Demps turns, then Irving would be like James: one star, kids, and interesting FA vets.

              But Demps would rather burn the Lakers group than Irving. Still, he has to negotiate the best return, or close to it. Craziness.

  2. Ptn18

    Those L.A. Times reporters must be working for Magic. I think Elton Brand “has to be NBA Executive of the Year.”

    • Ptn18

      Word must be getting around. The Knick’s took Kevin Durant’s picture off their season tickets pitch. I’ll bet KD is smiling about that one. CBS Sports

      • Ptn18

        Tell Magic we’ll make a deal. Magic can work with Simmons, and Danny Ainge can work with Anthony Davis. Ainge played on the Celtics championship team.

  3. Ptn18

    Elton Brand says there’s no problem. He knows Pelinka and Paul, and says Simmons will be with Sixers for a very long time. Woj says the NBA is investigating whether Simmons and Magic contacting each other violated a rule. Chalk up another fine for Magic.

  4. bpflyers1

    As far as I can tell, the two areas where Ben Simmons is lacking are having any kind of a jump shot and turning the ball over too much. Maturity and better decision making will help him decrease the amount of turnovers. The jump shot requires a little bit more work and tutoring from someone more qualified than his brother. I’m not sure what he thinks Magic can teach him except for how to tamper with another team’s player!!!

    • x%sure

      Ben Simmons also lacks the E”M”Johnson take-charge controlling attitude, which he had from the beginning in Michigan. So it would be hard to teach, and already a difficult thing to learn. Frankly there would be better attitude teachers on the Sixers. The whole idea is stupid, except as a cover for tampering.

      The fine will be large I think, since it’s not the first incident.

  5. DynamiteAdams

    For the amount of attention this is getting due to Magic being fined from the past, I honestly believe he wants to help Simmons with his game. This is purely my opinion but it just seems like the kind of thing Magic want to would do hence why his answer was yes if the league and both organizations would be ok with it. Well that and to avoid any kind of fine.

    • His motives may be pure going in, and, who knows, they may remain that way. It doesn’t really matter. The league shouldn’t permit it. The league is charged with enforcing the tampering rules (and not just for the benefit of the team who’s player is tampered with), but for the integrity of the league. The league has every right to prohibit a situation which would make it all but impossible for it to perform its charge.

  6. kenleyfornia2

    Pops can tell the Pelicans not to trade AD to the Lakers and thats not tampering…

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