As the NBA offseason gets underway, one of the biggest storylines to watch for will be what the Philadelphia 76ers do with Ben Simmons.
While Simmons is a former No. 1 overall pick turned All-Star in Philadelphia, his future with the franchise is now in jeopardy after a rough postseason that saw the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed fall in the second round.
The Los Angeles Lakers are another team looking to make roster changes and were recently listed as one of the betting favorites to land Simmons.
That may not be so easy to pull off though as even though the 76ers are shopping Simmons, they are reportedly looking for an All-Star caliber player in return, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The 76ers have opened up trade conversations surrounding Simmons and have engaged with teams, sources told The Athletic. Those sources also say that teams that have engaged with the 76ers about Simmons have been met with a high price threshold for the three-time All-Star.
“(The 76ers) want an All-Star-caliber player in return,” one source with knowledge of the ongoing talks said.
Considering Simmons can’t shoot, he isn’t exactly a perfect fit for the Lakers, who are looking to add some sharpshooters this summer.
It still wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lakers kick tires on Simmons though given his relationship with Klutch Sports and LeBron James, as well as him being one of the best defenders in the league at just 24 years of age. Frank Vogel is a defense-first coach and the potential of adding the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up to the No. 1 defense in the league is worth at least considering, even given Simmons’ other limitations on the offensive end.
The Lakers don’t have an All-Star caliber player to send Philadelphia in return though. Their package would likely be built around Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the No. 22 pick in this year’s draft and potentially sign-and-trades involving Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker.
While that doesn’t seem like an offer the 76ers would accept, it remains to be seen what else will be on the table.
Kuzma still believes he can be All-Star
Speaking of All-Star caliber players, Kuzma recently expressed belief that he can still get to that level.
“I definitely can. I definitely believe that, too. I don’t really care what nobody thinks or says. I know myself, and I know my ability. It’s hard to be consistent in an inconsistent role. I’m excited for a more consistent space next year,” Kuzma said.
“I’ve done a great job every offseason of trying to build something and add something to my game. I’ve turned myself into a great defender. My rookie year, I was a stop sign on defense. I didn’t really stop anybody. Now, whether it’s elite wings, 4 men, even point guards and shooting guards, I have the ability to guard four positions now and really affect the game on that end of the court.”
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