Following up on ESPN’s recent report stating that there may be momentum toward a Ben Simmons deal, Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms that the Sixers have increased their efforts to explore multi-team trade scenarios involving Simmons.
According to Charania, the Knicks and Lakers are among the teams with interest in Simmons. Charania adds that the Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Kings, Pacers, and Cavaliers also have interest, but those clubs have been previously cited as potential suitors for the three-time All-Star, whereas New York and Los Angeles are new additions to the list.
The Knicks would be a fascinating potential trade partner for Philadelphia. Their top offseason additions – Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker – haven’t been major successes so far and the team is off to a 12-15 start, perhaps increasing the likelihood of an in-season shakeup. New York would have the contracts necessary to match Simmons’ $33MM+ salary, and it’s probably safe to assume Tom Thibodeau would be a fan of what last season’s Defensive Player of the Year runner-up could bring to the table on defense.
Still, while the Knicks might be willing to roll the dice on Simmons if all it took was Fournier, Walker, and a couple draft picks, Philadelphia will presumably seek a more significant return. The 76ers remain on the hunt for an All-Star caliber player and/or multiple first-round picks in any deal for Simmons, Charania notes.
It’s even trickier to imagine the Lakers as a realistic trading partner for the Sixers. Given the salaries on the team’s books, Los Angeles would almost certainly have to include Russell Westbrook in any trade involving Simmons and I’m skeptical that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey would want to acquire Westbrook again after doing so in Houston didn’t pay dividends. Perhaps a three-team structure could work, but the Lakers seem like a long shot at best in the Simmons sweepstakes.
It’s unclear whether the Sixers have gained any real traction in any of their discussions involving Simmons, according to Charania.