In the 73 days since the 76ers placed Ben Simmons in the NBA display window for all to peep and ponder, not one team has taken the bait. One trade proposed in July by Sixers architect Daryl Morey had the Warriors rolling their eyes and walking away.
Five weeks later, the 76ers still want to move Simmons. Furthermore, multiple reports, the most recent in the Philadelphia Inquirer, are adamant in the belief that Simmons still wants to be moved.
High on the list of teams likely to acquire Simmons are, according to several oddsmakers, the Warriors (including NBC Sports Powered PointsBet, which has them third-highest at +250). They’re willing to listen, because they realize listening always has value, even if no deal is consummated.
Listening, after all, does not necessarily equate to interest. According to league sources, any interest the Warriors might have in Simmons is conditional. In short, they’re not that interested as long as Draymond Green is on the roster.
There has been debate on the subject of Draymond and Ben as teammates. I’m inclined to believe it can be effective because each is a terrific defender and strong rebounder with elite passing ability. Neither is much of a shooter. But if the Warriors can succeed with Kevon Looney at center, there is reason to believe they can do so with Simmons in that spot.
The Warriors, according to sources, are divided on the subject. Some see great potential in having two skilled players thriving in the ball-movement principles, especially in transition. Simmons also happens to be six years younger than Green.
Others, however, believe having two non-shooters on the court is too crippling for an offense, even with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, to overcome, particularly in the postseason.
The Warriors typically are reluctant to make a major move without a measure of consensus, if not complete unanimity. They tend to involve their personnel executives, their scouts, their coaches and their core players.
Which brings us to another possibility: Would the Warriors trade Draymond?
The first instinct is to shrug. No. Never. Not in a million years. Means too much. But that was before the franchise was pelted with shrapnel from his explosive interview with former teammate Kevin Durant.
Putting team business in the streets might make Draymond more tradable than he was a month ago, but it’s not likely he’ll be sent away in the heat of the moment. Never does a front office look smaller and more vindictive than when it trades a core player out of anger. An ownership/front office with a petty reputation is toxic when pursuing free agents.
For the record, the 76ers are not necessarily angry with Simmons. The word I’ve heard is “frustrated.” What’s clear, though, is that they are tired of his act. More obvious is that they are acutely aware Philadelphians are unwilling to forgive, much less forget, Ben’s spasm of cowardice in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Hawks on June 20.
Ben has to go. And he will.
Also high on the oddsmakers’ lists are the Kings, Trail Blazers and Raptors. (NBC Sports Powered PointsBet has the Kings and Trail Blazers tied at +150, the Raptors fourth behind the Warriors at +300.) Chances are far greater that Simmons will land with one of those teams.
The Warriors have lived with Draymond’s indiscretions for the better part of a decade. Their historic prosperity in recent years is in many ways tied to his presence. As long as Curry and Draymond are teammates, the franchise is a threat.
It’s hard to envision an offer appealing enough for the Warriors to deal for Simmons. It’s even harder to envision them trading Green against Curry’s wishes. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, just that such a move would raise eyebrows at Chase Center and send mixed signals around the league.
Can’t imagine CEO Joe Lacob and team president Bob Myers are willing to play that game.