Lakers Can’t Risk Foolishly Trading for Ben Simmons in What Is an Already-Difficult Season

Star point guard Ben Simmons remains engulfed with an uncertain future ahead with the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons hasn’t moved toward a resolution, further fueling that he’s played his final game in a 76ers uniform. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as an interested team, but that sits as a foolish pathway to follow.

Ben Simmons holds uncertain future with 76ers

Since the 76ers’ disappointing second-round playoff exit, Simmons has stood on shaky ground.

The 25-year-old has elected to remain away from the team due to not being mentally ready to play. Philadelphia hasn’t pushed the envelope toward getting Simmons back into the fold. Instead, the organization has kept him apart from the team while sorting through the uncertain situation.

The lack of clarity has led to trade chatter to crop up again with the latest rumblings featuring the Lakers’ puzzling inclusion.

Lakers can’t risk foolishly trading for Ben Simmons in what is an already-difficult season

As chatter around Simmons remains a prominent topic, it has led to increased trade rumors.

On Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic prompted more discussion after his latest report stated that several teams have reached out concerning interest in the three-time All-Star. The Lakers were mentioned as one of the organizations that expressed a desire to acquire Simmons.

The connection likely stems from his association with LeBron James through the shared relationship with Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul. Aside from that, there doesn’t appear to be anything more than that would link him to Los Angeles.

Other teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers remained consistently attached with interest in Simmons. It’s a puzzling connection for the Lakers as the team holds no need or fit for him on their roster.

Los Angeles already possesses ball handlers with James, Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, Rajon Rondo, and Malik Monk. Beyond that, Simmons has a hefty contract that pays him roughly $33 million this season. That alone would require the Lakers to match his massive salary to make any trade work.

Simmons’ playing style would only further complicate Los Angeles’ offensive game plan as he’s found his scoring success in the paint. It would clog the paint similarly to what has occurred in Philadelphia playing alongside Joel Embiid. Anthony Davis is a significant factor near the rim, while Westbrook and James thrive behind their ability to get to the paint off the dribble.

Simmons could help improve the Lakers’ play defensively, but there simply isn’t a fit for him in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles must remain patient with the process

The Lakers have stumbled through their first 28 games but continue to preach patience with the team finding its identity.

Injuries have certainly played a significant factor, while their lackluster defensive play speaks to their collective effort and the cohesion of the roster. James is finding his groove, especially over the last couple of weeks, with six 30-point outings over his last eight games.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook is developing comfort as the third scoring option. Davis’ recent health issues aren’t helping the situation, but the Lakers are taking some progressive strides forward. The front office constructed a veteran-laden roster that they hope will gel together and find that connection necessary to vie for an NBA title.

All that makes the Simmons’ trade talk more confusing as it doesn’t line up with the team’s overall direction or game plan. Ultimately, it’s a flashy move that the Lakers don’t need and would be unwise to explore.

Contract details courtesy of Spotrac.

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