It is something of an open secret at this point that the Minnesota Timberwolves have very real interest in acquiring Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers. Growing discontent between Simmons and Joel Embiid has only intensified the belief that the former is getting dealt at some point this summer.
On Friday, NBA insider Dane Moore reported that “Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas and 76ers General Manager Elton Brand met in Chicago during the NBA combine, sources say, where a Ben Simmons trade to Minnesota was discussed.”
That being said, there is one noteworthy stipulation hanging over any prospective deal between the Wolves and Sixers.
Minnesota refuses to trade one of its stars.
According to Jon Krawczynski and Danny Leroux of The Athletic, D’Angelo Russell will not be included in any deal that results in Simmons coming to Minnesota.
“In Minnesota, while the Wolves would certainly need Simmons to shoot more than zero times in the fourth quarter, they wouldn’t need him to be a No. 2 option on offense,” they wrote.
“Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell (the Timberwolves view Russell as a part of the core and want to keep it that way, sources said) give coach Chris Finch three accomplished offensive players to get buckets down the stretch.”
The Sixers have made their asking price for Simmons clear. Whether a package not including Russell will ultimately suffice remains to be seen.
Although Russell’s season was cut short due to injuries, in the 42 outings he did play in he averaged 19.0 points and 5.8 assists per game.
Minnesota’s belief that he, coupled with Towns, Edwards and Simmons could form a very formidable starting line-up is understandable.
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Moreover, Simmons’ fit with the Wolves makes a lot of sense as well. The trio of Russell, Towns and and Malik Beasley connected on more than 38 percent of their shots from beyond the arc this year. That should nicely cover up a lot of Simmons’ deficiencies in that particular area.
Of course, it’s worth remembering that there are other teams in the hunt for Simmons’ services. One title contender is seriously considering going all-in on him.
Should that deal not materialize, however – a trade between the Wolves and Sixers would make a whole lot of sense for all parties involved.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.