The undying Ben Simmons rumors

reluctantly, I click the Publish button

I’ve tried to ignore the Ben Simmons rumors.

GSW probably won’t meet Morey’s demands

We already addressed them in June:

Ben’s value was at an all time low then, right after the bad playoffs. I asked Dub Nation if we’d take Ben for a straight trade for Andrew Wiggins ALONE and the majority said no:

Well, sorry to break it to you Big Ben fans in Dub Nation, but Slater reported Daryl Morey’s asking price as “Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, the seventh and 14th picks and two future first-rounders.” So… Wiggins, Wiseman, Kuminga, Moody and 2 firsts. That’s really far away from what Dub Nation would pay.

Of course, the GSW management is far more realistic than Dub Nation. But still, the sense from reporters is that GSW *might* be willing to give up one of Wiseman/Kuminga, but not both.

In short, I don’t think GSW would pay Morey’s asking price. Morey is known as an asset maximizing GM to a fault, perhaps neglecting the human side. He is the least-likely GM to panic-sell Ben. Also, Ben Simmons is under contract for four more years… it’s hard to see what leverage BS has beyond straight extortion.

You also figure there are plenty of other teams who would pay more than the Warriors can, and they may have draft picks that are more likely to be lottery picks. So as a trade fit, I have a very hard time seeing it.

The basketball fit could be okay though

I haven’t even gotten into the issue of team fit. The quick case against is: Draymond and Ben can’t play together because they both won’t shoot, so defenses will freely help off of them. Honestly, I think Simmons could fit fine with the Warriors, with one major caution.

Here is the brief argument. Looney and Dray have worked in Warriors lineups. In fact, Curry-Green-Looney is the best 3-man lineup from 2020-21. And Ben Simmons has the physical tools and game feel to do everything Kevon Looney does. I believe in PHI he has not been asked to screen hard, cut hard off-ball, play the dunker spot on offense, but he clearly could do it. He could guard 1-4 comfortably and wrestle with 5s. I don’t think he’s guarded big 5s in PHI because Embiid has had that role, but I think he could scrap like Looney.

Then add on that BS is much better than Looney at ball-handling, shot creation, passing, transition scoring, and overall defense. And when Draymond is off the court, Simmons can play the Dray point-forward role at the top of the key, or work the short roll in Steph PNRs.

Except is that what Ben wants?

The major caution is, does Ben WANT to be Lunch Pail Gang Ben with Looney/Draymond and only a part-time ball-dominant All-Star Ben Simmons? This is similar to the idea that Carmelo Anthony could be Olympic Melo and the world’s best complementary player, but he never wanted to do it in the NBA. Many players want to start and be stars and show their whole game all the time, rather than sacrifice for the good of the team. I’m not going to criticize that morally; after all, NBA players got to the top of their profession with ego and drive.

Nonetheless, of all players, it feels like Ben is the one player who needs the most humility and team sacrifice in order to make the next step in his development, especially to succeed with the Warriors (or maybe every team). There was a rather brutal piece on BS which had its pessimistic angle, but it did bring up objective facts. Ben Simmons was connected to a proper shooting coach by the Sixers and instead made his own brother his shooting coach. And his agent Rich Paul and family are very involved in his career decisions. This does not have the markers of a player who will challenge himself and sacrifice for team winning.

His most lucrative move right now is probably to get traded to a team that will let him be the star, will give him a coach and GM who give him leeway, for him to rack up a ton of statistics and lock in another max contract. If he wins a title, great. If he doesn’t, well, when he’s at the end of that second big contract, he can sacrifice for a ring.

In Conclusion

So it seems to me the most likely scenarios are:

  • Some team gives Morey a ton of assets (a star plus 3-4 great picks) before the season starts.

  • Some contender starts the season very badly and has some falling out. Then they panic trade for BS and meet Morey’s demands.

  • PHI and Simmons kiss and make up.

  • PHI starts the season badly, BS refuses to play, and Morey is forced to trade for a reduced package to keep PHI in contention.

I don’t want GSW to be involved in any of these scenarios. Even in the bargain-basement fourth scenario, some other team can outbid GSW.

So… that’s why I haven’t wanted to write about this Ben Simmons issue. But I can see you folks want to discuss it. So here’s another thread for you.

Further Content

Since our first piece, there have been a few interesting pieces out there.

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