The Warriors were once again tied to the disgruntled 76ers star.
According to a report by Evan Massey at the NBA Analysis Network, disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons would prefer a trade to the Golden State Warriors over other potential landing spots. Simmons’ primary goal is a trade out of Philadelphia, where the situation has continued worsening since the 76ers were eliminated in last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons has made three All-Star and two All-NBA Defensive teams in the first four seasons of his career. He’s averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game on 56% shooting from the field, but a lack of offensive aggressiveness and paltry shooting numbers (14.7% career three-point percentage and 59.7% career free-throw percentage) have made him one of the most enigmatic players in the league.
While Massey’s report aligns with speculation that has surrounded Simmons and the Warriors all summer, there’s reason to be skeptical of his report. Below is the excerpt from his article:
According to one league source, Simmons would still prefer to be traded. His preferred destination if a trade does occur is the Warriors, who he believes would be a perfect fit for the next chapter of his career.
The claim that Simmons hopes to land in Golden State relies on one “league source” whose proximity to the 25-year-old wing is not clarified in the article. Furthermore, Massey cites the possibility of replacing Draymond Green as the reason Simmons hopes to be traded to the Warriors. However, Massey never mentions Dubs small forward Andrew Wiggins, who seems like a much more likely centerpiece for a potential trade package.
If Simmons does prefer a trade to Golden State because he believes he could replace Green, that’s probably not very tenable for the Warriors. Besides Green’s storied history with the franchise, he remains their most impactful defensive player and, more importantly, is close with star guard Stephen Curry. It’s hard to imagine Steph signing off on parting with Green and even harder to imagine the Warriors making that kind of trade without Curry’s approval.
Yet, even a Wiggins-centric trade seems hard to envision at this point. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is eyeing a trade that immediately improves Philadelphia’s title chances. While the Warriors have several intriguing young players (e.g., James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody), none are expected to be impactful players this year. Perhaps the two sides could find a third team to make things work, but there’s no clear fit.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob has already publically poured cold water on any Simmons-to-Golden State talks, and given the Dubs offensive struggles early in the regular season, they are probably even less inclined to replace Wiggins with someone who is a worse scorer. Still, Simmons is one of the most talented players in the NBA. If things continue to devolve in Philly, pushing Morey’s trade demands down, Golden State could always reemerge as a trade destination. As one league source tells Massey, that’s how Simmons hopes things play out.