Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: Lakers, Knicks Join Teams Interested in 76ers Star

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

There is reportedly significant interest in a potential trade for Ben Simmons, with the Philadelphia 76ers "ramping up their efforts" to complete a deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. 

The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are all considered interested in the disgruntled guard.

Simmons has not yet played for Philadelphia this season, saying he is not mentally ready to join the team. He previously requested a trade during the offseason before reporting to camp in October.

The 25-year-old could still make a significant impact in the NBA this season as a three-time All-Star who has been named first-team All-Defense in each of the past two years. Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game over his career as one of the most versatile players in the league.

It creates an obvious draw for teams looking to improve their standing in the playoff hunt.

The Lakers (15-13) haven't lived up to expectations this season, but adding Simmons could bring in some much-needed youth and athleticism that would fit perfectly with the team's fast-paced approach. On the other hand, the outside shooting questions would only grow considering Simmons has just five career made three-pointers in four NBA seasons.

The cap situation could also be difficult with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook all making at least $35 million this season, per Spotrac. The team might have to include one of the superstars in any deal for Simmons.  

The Knicks (12-15), Trail Blazers (11-16) and Kings (11-16) are all fighting for playoff spots with defenses that rank in the bottom six in the NBA in efficiency. Simmons could immediately turn things around for any of those teams after keying a 76ers team that ranked second in the category last season.

This potential trade could be a long-term move for the Timberwolves (12-15) or Cavaliers (16-12), two teams looking to solidify their core after several losing seasons in a row. Minnesota could have an exciting future with Simmons, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, while Cleveland would look to pair him with Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.

Philadelphia will still have a high asking price, reportedly seeking an "All-Star-caliber player and/or multiple first-round draft pick," per Charania.

The 76ers have targeted Damian Lillard in a trade for Simmons, although the Trail Blazers have said he is off limits, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. With plenty of league-wide interest in Simmons, however, the front office might still hold out for a top return in a trade.