From: Las Vegas
Ben Simmons trade talk: The leverage factor, Wolves, Warriors, Kings, Raptors fits and best case scenario for Sixers
Sam Amick, David Aldridge and more
The Wolves, as The Athletic has reported, appear to be the most active team so far in trying to make a deal. How good a fit do you think these teams are to get something done?
Krawczynski: The Wolves see their situation as perfect for Simmons. Unlike Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns is a stretch 5, so the two of them wouldn’t get in each other’s way. They also have Anthony Edwards and, if they don’t move him in the deal, D’Angelo Russell as shot creators so they don’t need Simmons to be something he is not late in games. And Simmons’ incredible defense would be a boon to the Wolves, who also want to play in transition, another Simmons strength.
By my estimation, the Wolves are the team that has the greatest desire to add Simmons right now. Just one problem: They are not parting with Towns or Edwards and very much do not want to move Russell, which means they don’t have a great package of win-now players to offer a team that doesn’t want to rebuild, but wants to contend for a title.
There has been a search for a third team to help facilitate, but that is complicated and difficult to pull off. Some combination of players including Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels, Patrick Beverley or Taurean Prince (for salary matching) with draft picks isn’t as bad as some may think. If Russell ends up being made available, that would be a nice pairing with Embiid from a stylistic standpoint. But it certainly isn’t Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal.
But is there another package out there that will land Morey the All-Star he wants? No indications Dame or Beal are anywhere close to available. So time may be on the Wolves’ side here. And if Tyrese Maxey is included, maybe that could draw a third team into the mix.
All of this is to say that a deal between Minnesota and Philadelphia is going to be very hard to pull off. There isn’t a perfect match of players, salary and picks that immediately jumps out at you. But if Simmons goes full Jimmy Butler on the Sixers this fall, the price could drop and the Wolves won’t give up until he is on another team.
Aldridge: Minnesota’s definitely looking for a way to make this happen without hamstringing its future by giving away draft picks through the end of the decade. I don’t know many new owners who can resist wanting to make a big splash when they take over, and I doubt Marc Lore or Alex Rodriguez are any different. But I don’t know how interested Philly would be in a deal with Russell as the centerpiece. Jon’s right that an offer involving some or all of Beasley/McDaniels/picks for Simmons wouldn’t be ridiculous. I just don’t think Russell alone moves the needle.
Amick: It’s always good business to defer to Jon K on all things Minnesota, so I’ll keep my Timberwolves views brief here. But when it comes to this possibility, the part that intrigues me the most is the history between the two top front-office executives here.
Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas was Morey’s right-hand man in Houston, where they worked together for nearly 15 years before Rosas headed for Minnesota in May of 2019. Both men know each other extremely well, but it begs the question of whether that truly matters when the advantage, so to speak, is possessed by both negotiators.
Bodner: I think you all have mostly covered it. I think Minnesota is the most logical team to desire Simmons, but I don’t think what they have to offer is necessarily all that tempting for the Sixers. Getting a third team involved would be a key in something with the Sixers and the Wolves coming to fruition.