The Philadelphia 76ers suffered another discouraging playoff departure, inevitably leading to trade chatter regarding star guard Ben Simmons. Several teams have emerged as potential offseason landing spots. However, the list doesn’t include one NBA title contender.
Ben Simmons holds uncertain future with the 76ers
The 76ers’ early playoff exit sends the franchise into another offseason filled with scrutiny and criticism.
However, the focus this time around centers on Simmons‘ offensive struggles in the second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. Simmons experienced issues in the fourth quarter, taking only three total shots and scoring 12 points in the seven games. That included five contests without a single field-goal attempt.
Those shortcomings shifted the conversation over to potential trade talk Regarding Simmons. It’s led to several teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Sacramento Kings mentioned as possible landing spots. The list doesn’t include one championship contender because of clear-cut reasons.
Ben Simmons can rule out an NBA title contender as a landing spot
With uncertainty floating around Simmons‘ future, several potential landing spots have emerged.
It has predictably led to the Los Angeles Lakers being thrown into the mix due to the team’s desire to add backcourt talent. However, Marc Stein of The New York Times voiced recently that the Lakers don’t appear likely as a destination.
“To be clear: I don’t see Lakerland as a good landing spot for Simmons even if they had the means to make it happen,” Stein wrote. “Although Simmons and the Sixers both badly need a fresh start because of all the swirling angst from this season’s unhappy ending and years of frustration building up to it, asking Simmons to try to rebuild his game and self-confidence in the league’s most withering spotlight seems particularly unwise.
“Yet it’s worth noting that inevitable rumbles of Lakers interest would not merely emanate from Simmons’ status as a Paul client like LeBron James and Anthony Davis.”
Simmons has an immediate connection with James and Davis by sharing the same agent representation with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. However, there are no additional dots to connect as his skill set isn’t what the Lakers want.
The Lakers are eyeing another playmaker that can create offense through their scoring and passing. Simmons struggles with his production as a scorer, while his playmaking as a passer doubles up what James already provides.
Unless there is a drastic shift on this end of the spectrum, expect the Lakers to explore other options.
Lakers fixated on other offseason options
With this scenario out the window, the Lakers possess several other offseason options to bolster the roster around James and Davis.
The last several days have seen Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonzo Ball, and Collin Sexton linked to Los Angeles. The front office previously attempted to acquire Lowry before this past season’s trade deadline, but the reluctance to include Talen Horton-Tucker in any offer prevented the move.
The possibility of landing either Lowry or Dinwiddie will likely have to venture through a sign-and-trade to soften the financial blow of the incoming contract. That scenario alone will require Kyle Kuzma to be part of any transaction due to his $13 million salary next season.
The Lakers could also bring back Dennis Schroder, but his reported desire for a deal ranging between $100 million to $120 million may be out of the team’s range. Ultimately, the front office holds several different offseason routes ahead that could see a revamped roster for the 2021-22 campaign.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.