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Report: Knicks, Lakers interested in Ben Simmons trade

Ben Simmons in Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against the New York Knicks on March 21, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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As the 76ers and Ben Simmons continue their standoff, focus has turned to Simmons’ mental health – not a trade. That’s not the narrative Philadelphia wants. So, there’s an attempt to renew trade discussion.

But that doesn’t work as well with the same stale usual-suspect potential trade partners who’ve gone months without completing a deal.

Enter the Knicks and Lakers.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are among the teams interested in Simmons, sources said, although it’s unclear how much traction Philadelphia truly has on any move.

The 76ers want a star… which the Knicks don’t have. An All-NBA second-teamer last year, Julius Randle has backslid. Perhaps, New York can load an offer with enough draft picks, young players and role players to satisfy Philadelphia, anyway.

The Knicks have all their own picks plus extra protected first-rounders from the Hornets and Mavericks. R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin hold varying levels of intrigue. Players like Derrick Rose and Alec Burks would give the 76ers more depth.

With a vaccine mandate in New York, the Knicks must also consider Simmons’ vaccination status.

A Lakers-Simmons trade seems even more farfetched.

Unless moving LeBron James, Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles will have extreme difficulty matching Simmons’ $33,003,936 salary. A package of Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn works financially only if the Lakers including a whopping eight of their 10 minimum-salary players. With Philadelphia limited to 15 roster spots for players on standard contracts, such a deal borders on impossible.

And then there’s actually compensating the 76ers with value. The Lakers can send only one first-round pick, in 2026 or 2027. That almost certainly won’t cut it.

Perhaps, Los Angeles is open to dealing Westbrook, who hasn’t quickly fit. But Daryl Morey seems unlikely to covet Westbrook. A multi-team trade is theoretically possible. But what team likes Westbrook enough to surrender enough assets that’d satisfy Philadelphia into trading Simmons? And why wouldn’t that team just trade for Simmons itself?