NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Ben Simmons' Trade Suitors, Damian Lillard, Lakers

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 13, 2021

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Ben Simmons' Trade Suitors, Damian Lillard, Lakers

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    David Dow/Getty Images

    The highlight of most NBA offseasons is free agency. This year could be one of the exceptions.

    Sure, there was a metric ton of money spent, but most of it went to players who stayed put. Those who did seek greener pastures—a group highlighted by Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball—might be a tier or two beneath true needle-moving status.

    That's part of what makes the trade market so fascinating. Those who didn't add an elite in free agency might go the trade route to find one, and there could be some massive names available.

    It's why the basketball world continues buzzing about trade possibilities, so let's break down that buzz and the other rumblings around the Association.

Three Ben Simmons Suitors Emerge out West

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    Ben Simmons' playoff struggles probably didn't help his trade value, but it clearly didn't torpedo it, either.

    According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves are among the teams that "have discussed Simmons with varying degrees of interest."

    It's tough to tell what that means for these three particular teams. The Warriors are in the market for a star, but they might see too much overlap (and not enough spacing) between Simmons and Draymond Green. The Spurs have plenty of average-to-above players, but would any interest the Sixers? The Wolves could stand to upgrade the talent around Karl-Anthony Towns, but would a Simmons trade subtract too much from his supporting cast?

    Perhaps the more important lesson here, then, is that Simmons' trade market seems alive and well. That's good news for the Sixers, especially if they're open to Simmons deals that don't involve prying Damian Lillard away from the Portland Trail Blazers.

No Movement on Trade Front for Damian Lillard

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    To all the Damian Lillard dreamers residing outside of the Pacific Northwest, brace yourselves for what comes next.

    "Lillard is not available and has not asked for a trade," Lowe reported.

    That's probably to be expected for now, although Portland's uninspiring offseason presumably could've forced Lillard to look for the nearest exit. He asked for urgency from the front office, and the Blazers' brass responded by signing Cody Zeller, Tony Snell and Ben McLemore. It's safe to assume that's not what Lillard had in mind.

    So, hey, maybe you Dame Dreamers can keep believing. This situation seemingly remains fluid, and perhaps if Portland is slow out of the gate, Lillard might shake loose just yet.

Lakers Considering Isaiah Thomas, Other Options to Fill Roster

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Save for the stunning trade for Russell Westbrook, the Los Angeles Lakers have turned this into their summer of reunions.

    Dwight Howard is back in L.A. for his third tour of duty with the Purple and Gold. Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington and Trevor Ariza are all returning for their second stints with the squad.

    And there might be another familiar face rejoining the franchise. According to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Lakers have "weighed" the possibility of adding Isaiah Thomas, though that's one of many options being considered as the Lakers "are looking for additional backcourt punch as well as wing depth."

    Thomas played 17 games with the Lakers in 2017-18 after arriving in a deadline deal from LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas is a two-time All-Star, but he has battled a nagging right hip injury for much of the past four seasons. In 2020-21, he secured only a 10-day deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 7.7 points on 33.3 percent shooting across three games.

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