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76ers Rumors: Ben Simmons for Russell Westbrook Trade Doesn't Interest PHI

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2022

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly have "zero interest" in trading Ben Simmons to the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. 

However, the Sixers are reportedly attempting to package Simmons with veteran power forward Tobias Harris and the $79.4 million he's due over the next two years in trade talks, per Amick. 

Simmons has yet to play this season for the Sixers after expressing a desire to be traded over the summer. That followed a disappointing Eastern Conference Semifinals performance during which he attempted only three fourth-quarter shots in the entire seven-game series. 

While he sits, the Sixers have managed to go 23-16 on the year, in large part due to Joel Embiid's dominance. The big man is yet again an MVP candidate and has now posted seven straight games with 30 or more points. 

NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA

Joel Embiid joins Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain as the only 76ers to have seven straight 3️⃣0️⃣-point games. <br><br>Philly is 7-0 during this stretch 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/ixc3kZjQzO">pic.twitter.com/ixc3kZjQzO</a>

While the Sixers have made it clear they aren't going to be rushed into a Simmons trade if they don't feel they're getting fair value in return, every day that Embiid goes without a true second star increases the possibility that the team is wasting a year of his prime. 

It's fair to argue that Westbrook wouldn't offer much of a solution to that conundrum. 

While the 33-year-old point guard has solid stats on paper this season (19.0 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game), three separate teams have traded him in the past three summers. True star players aren't dealt that often. 

The Westbrook experiment with LeBron James and Anthony Davis hasn't proven fruitful. Westbrook's ball dominance clashes with James' facilitating ability, and his woeful three-point shooting (29.8 percent) and mediocre defense hasn't fit well on the Lakers roster. 

In Philadelphia, one of the major issues of the Embiid-Simmons pairing was that the latter didn't offer his superstar center much in the way of spacing. Simmons' unwillingness to shoot even mid-range jump shots for much of his career has allowed defenses to more easily collapse on Embiid in the post without repercussion, and sticking Simmons in the dunker spot only further clogs the lane. 

While Westbrook is at least willing to take jumpers, he doesn't make them at an efficient clip. His presence in Philly would present many of the same half-court issues that Simmons saddled the Sixers with, namely in the postseason.

It would be a bad fit, in other words, and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Sixers reportedly aren't at all interested in the possibility. 

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