The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly plan on getting involved with trade talks for Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
According to Jon Krawczynski and Danny Leroux of The Athletic, the Timberwolves are likely to be in the mix for several players on the trade block, although they have no intention of making guard D'Angelo Russell part of any trade package.
The T-Wolves reportedly view Russell as a key part of their core and "want to keep it that way."
While the 24-year-old Simmons is a three-time All-Star and one of the best defensive players in the NBA, he is coming off a terrible playoff run that has led to speculation he could be traded.
In four NBA seasons, Simmons owns career regular-season averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals, while shooting 56.0 percent from the field. He almost never attempts shots from beyond the arc, though, and shoots only 59.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Simmons appeared in 12 games for the top-seeded Sixers in this season's playoffs, averaging just 11.9 points to go along with 8.8 assists and 7.9 rebounds. He also turned in an all-time poor performance at the charity stripe, shooting just 34.2 percent.
He had an especially tough time during the second round against the Atlanta Hawks, averaging just 9.9 points per game and not attempting a single shot in the fourth quarter of any of the final four games of the series.
The Aussie has some clear deficiencies offensively, but that likely wouldn't matter to the Timberwolves if they can get him without losing Russell, All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns or 2020-21 Rookie of the Year runner-up Anthony Edwards.
Russell, Towns and Edwards are all strong offensive players who could benefit from the presence of a player like Simmons, who thrives at distributing the basketball and plays hard-nosed defense.
Minnesota has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and has just one playoff appearance to its credit over the past 17 campaigns.
A big move may be needed to get the Timberwolves back over the top and into playoff contention, especially after they went just 23-49 last season.
Bringing in a former No. 1 overall pick like Simmons would qualify as a splashy move, but doing so without trading any of their top three players could be difficult, especially since they don't own a first-round pick this year.