NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz Surrounding Ben Simmons, Collin Sexton, Kyle Kuzma

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 16, 2021

NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz Surrounding Ben Simmons, Collin Sexton, Kyle Kuzma

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The NBA is talking trades.

    It's an annual offseason pastime, but it's also many teams' best path to an offseason upgrade this year. The free-agent market is light on elite talents and win-now shoppers with cap space, so trades might be the only way to add impact pieces.

    Already, the market is buzzing around a young All-Star, a younger star scorer and an intriguing player on a marquee franchise. Let's break it all down.

76ers Talking Ben Simmons Trades

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Let the Ben Simmons sweepstakes begin.

    Following the former No. 1 pick's postseason flop, the Philadelphia 76ers "have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams," The Athletic's Shams Charania reported. Those hoping to buy low on Simmons might be out of luck, though, as a source told Charania that Philadelphia is seeking "an All-Star-caliber player in return."

    The Sixers are right to set a steep price. For all his limitations as a passive scorer and non-shooter, Simmons is still a 24-year-old three-time All-Star who defends all five positions and expertly reads the floor as a 6'11" playmaker.

    Suitors might be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for his recent struggles given the imperfect on-court fit between him and Sixers center Joel Embiid. Get Simmons to a team with more shooting and a commitment to playing at a faster pace, and he may tap into his superstar potential.

Knicks Aggressively Pursuing Collin Sexton

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The New York Knicks are almost certainly adding a point guard this offseason. They have had question marks at the position for years, and with a mountain of assets (including roughly $50 million in cap space, per Spotrac, and a pair of first-round picks), they should have enough pull to bring someone to the Big Apple.

    Collin Sexton apparently holds a prominent place on their wishlist.

    "The Knicks are the most aggressive trade suitor for Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton," Charania reported.

    Sexton is extension-eligible this offseason and needs a new deal by next summer. The Cleveland Cavaliers seem less than keen on keeping himβ€”The Athletic's Jason Lloyd previously labeled Sexton as "very available"β€”which makes some sense given the significant growth Darius Garland showed in his sophomore season.

    Sexton is more of a scorer than table-setter, but the Knicks might be fine with that considering they already have capable shot-creators in Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. What they need is a walking bucket, and the 22-year-old Sexton looks the part. This season, his third in the league, he averaged 24.3 points on an impressive 47.5/37.1/81.5 shooting.

Lakers Testing Kyle Kuzma's Trade Market

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    Kyle Kuzma has spent much of his four-year tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers in close proximity to the rumor mill. This might be the offseason when he's finally swept up by trade winds and carried out of town.

    The Lakers are gauging trade interest in Kuzma, per B/R's Jake Fischer, and if they hear something they like, they might be willing to cut the cord.

    That's not necessarily an anti-Kuzma take but rather a reflection of L.A.'s reality. Lacking significant cap space and having already sacrificed so many draft assets in the Anthony Davis deal, the Lakers don't have a lot to entice teams to trade with them. Kuzma is one of the exceptions as a soon-to-be 26-year-old who followed early displays of potent scoring with better outside shooting and a more consistent commitment to defense.

    If rival teams believe Kuzma's best basketball is ahead of him, they might be willing to bring him aboard in exchange for pieces who better complement Davis and LeBron James.