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Reports: Timberwolves still trying to make Ben Simmons trade but will need third team

2021 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 18: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up prior to a game against the Atlanta Hawks during Round 2, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs on June 18, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. 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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With new ownership and an aggressive management team, the Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to build a win-now team around big man Karl-Anthony Towns. They may have something special in second-year wing Anthony Edwards, and they paid a lot of money to bring in D’Angelo Russell, but this is still a team whose top end likey is a play-in game berth. The Timberwolves need more talent.

They have been the most aggressive in going after Ben Simmons and continue to make calls, but they will need a third team (or more) to get in the mix to provide the win-now players Philadelphia wants back in a Simmons deal, according to multiple reports.

Here is Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic:
The Wolves have continued to have discussions with the Sixers on Simmons, sources said, but the lack of win-now assets they could provide the Sixers in their pursuit of a championship has been a hindrance. A third team would almost assuredly have to be brought in to get more immediate impact assets to the Sixers, and that is a complicated endeavor.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said essentially the same thing in an appearance Tuesday on ESPN’s ‘Get Up,’ with a
hat tip to (and transcription via) Adam Hermann of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia has continued to try to see if they can find a deal for Simmons before the start of camp. They have not had success, you know, really getting any traction for the high asking price they’re asking for Ben Simmons. Minnesota is one team that’s been persistent with Philadelphia, but they’ve needed to have, really, third and even fourth teams in those kinds of deals to get back to Philly what it would want.

“I think for the Sixers, if they’re going to trade Ben Simmons, they’ve got to get back players right now who continue on that Joel Embiid timeline of having an MVP-level player in his prime, that you’re trying to win championships with, and that’s a hard package to get back for Ben Simmons right now. There’s a very distinct possibility he’s going to have to come back to training camp with them next season.”

Make no mistake, Philadelphia wants to trade Simmons before the start of training camp, but it will not take a lesser deal just to make it happen. Which means — as NBC Sports and others have reported before — it is more and more likely the awkward moments of Simmons returning to Sixers training camp are more and more likely.

But Minnesota keeps trying.