Intriguing West team ‘badly’ wants to trade for Simmons originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The franchise cornerstone had another tough postseason, and now it seems every day brings another rumbling of a team that could take Simmons off the Sixers’ hands.
On Sunday, longtime Minnesota reporter Darren Wolfson said he’s heard some very interesting buzz about an unexpected team out West looking to make a move for Simmons:
“I texted with someone that knows Ben Simmons incredibly well, that has working knowledge of all things NBA […] My text was, ‘How badly do the Wolves want to trade for Ben Simmons?’ This individual sent me a text, it was one word: ‘Badly.’ Make no mistake, the Wolves have trade interest in Ben Simmons.”
The Timberwolves were supposed to mirror the Sixers’ upward trajectory after the traded for Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler and drafted Karl-Anthony Towns. They were a young team with big upside, but they’ve been abjectly bad for years now. Even after 2020 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards’ exciting first season, it’s hard to see where the Timberwolves have a future where they’re truly competitive in the Western Conference.
So making a big, organization-changing move might be a shot at kickstarting things.
But what would the Sixers get in return for Simmons, and would it be any better than a potential trade with Portland or another mystery team lying in wait?
Towns is both off the board and a bad fit in Philadelphia. Edwards is springy and electric, but he’s cheap for a few more years and I don’t see Minnesota parting with such a young and promising talent to add a flawed star like Simmons. D’Angelo Russell is still just 25 years old and would be a good offensive fit at point guard, but his defensive on/off splits aren’t great.
The Sixers would definitely prefer Edwards to Russell, while Minnesota would prefer the opposite. The Wolves would also have to include, say, Malik Beasley in either deal to make it worth the Sixers’ while – and possibly draft compensation.
The upside of a trade like this for the Sixers is they’re not parting with Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey, because they have the best asset in the deal. In a possible Damian Lillard mega-swap, those two are absolutely on the block.
The downside is, nothing Minnesota can offer in return is “lose your mind”-level exciting, and while some Sixers fans have soured on Simmons, a deal where the return isn’t something big probably won’t smooth over much of the pain.
We’ll see what President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey gets up to this offseason. It sounds like he has plenty of teams to talk to.