Philadelphia 76ers point forward Ben Simmons is close friends with Minnesota Timberwolves All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell and has the same agent as Anthony Edwards. This is worth mentioning since he could team up with the Timberwolves stars soon.
After struggling in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Simmons is expected to be involved in several trade talks this offseason, and the Timberwolves are reportedly interested in acquiring the 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick.
Timberwolves reportedly plan on pursuing Ben Simmons
According to The Athletic, the Timberwolves “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.” The franchise likely wants to create a Big 4 of Simmons, Towns, Russell, and Edwards.
Simmons’ future with the Sixers is unclear following the team’s second-round exit. The lefty still doesn’t have a jump shot and was reluctant to shoot late in games in the playoffs. A change of scenery could be beneficial for Simmons, who averaged 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists while shooting 33.3% from the free-throw line in the second round.
The Timberwolves, despite having three high-level scorers in Towns, Russell, and Edwards, won only 23 games in 2020-21. They have made the playoffs once since reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2004 and could make some noise with Simmons in the fold since he’s a gifted passer and defender.
However, acquiring Simmons could be difficult for Minnesota.
Ben Simmons has four years and $147 million left on his contract
Simmons is set to make $33 million in 2021-22. To acquire the All-Star, the Timberwolves would have to include at least $26.4 million in a deal with the Sixers. They could package Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley for Simmons, but there is no chance the Sixers would do that deal.
It will be tricky for the Timberwolves to acquire Simmons since they are paying Towns and Russell max money. They are roughly $6 million below the tax line, so any trade where they take on Simmons would change that. A third team would probably have to get involved in the transaction for the Timberwolves to accomplish their dream scenario of keeping Russell and acquiring Simmons.
Since Towns, Russell, and Edwards are three-level scorers, Simmons wouldn’t have to score that much in Minnesota, although he would undoubtedly have to shoot more than zero times in the fourth quarter. His ability to push the ball quickly in the open court would make the Timberwolves a better offensive team and create more open looks for Towns, Russell, and Edwards.
However, in addition to the financial gymnastics the Timberwolves would need to pull off to acquire Simmons, they also don’t have many assets to send to the Sixers, especially when you consider the deal Philly already reportedly turned down for the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year.
Sixers said no to Pacers’ offer
According to Jason Dumas of Bleacher Report, the Sixers turned down the Indiana Pacers‘ offer for Simmons. It reportedly included Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick. The Timberwolves won’t trade Towns or Edwards to get Simmons. Meanwhile, Russell is close friends with Towns and is said to be part of the long-term plans in Minnesota.
With that said, there aren’t any other attractive players on the Timberwolves that the Sixers would have interest in. Even though Simmons is sometimes a liability on offense, his value around the NBA is still high since he does other things very well.
It will be fascinating to see what happens with Simmons this offseason. Timberwolves fans are likely hoping Gersson Rosas finds a way to acquire the Sixers forward without parting ways with Russell.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.