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The offseason rumors have already begun, but what can we believe?
Unsurprisingly, Sixers forward Ben Simmons is a hot name in the NBA rumor mill right now, after his inability to shoot free throws and his unwillingness to shoot from anywhere else led Philadelphia to an early playoff exit.
Simmons is a star by most accounts, but one whose stock is at an all-time low. For the Warriors, who can’t afford to add another star to their payroll without moving someone, he presents an intriguing possibility. Intriguing enough that they’ve made calls regarding him according to Stephen A. Smith.
So, how legit is all this? Marcus Thompson of The Athletic is just about as plugged in on the Warriors as anyone out there, and he thinks there’s some fire causing this smoke.
“I mean, Stephen A. is a renowned reporter with decades of experience,” Thompson told Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks on Friday. “I know, for sure he is tight with Joe Lacob. I’ve always thought this, if there’s a possibility to get Ben Simmons, especially for player price, you gotta at least kick the tires.
“I know there are people in the organization who were like, yeah, nah, we’ll pass. But that’s kind of how the Warriors roll. They like to kind of put all opinions on the table, debate it, weigh it out, argue it and then come to a consensus. But to me, it just wouldn’t make sense to not vet it, especially for a franchise that just rehabbed Andrew Wiggins, right?
“And I mean, this is how they’re going to do it. This is how they’re going to get a star. There’s no more days where [Kevin] Durant is a free agent, and he could just choose where he wants to go and the Warriors have just enough under the cap to get him. Those days are over. So you have to figure out another way to maneuver that player in here, because you’re giving out $40 million contracts every year. So to walk away from a chance to get a star, or not even vet it? That’s just not how the Warriors roll.”
Simmons, 24, is owed $35.4 million next season and is under contract through the 2024-25 season. The most logical swap would be for Andrew Wiggins who is owed $31.5 and under contract until the 2023 offseason.
Simmons for Wiggins might not make a ton of sense for the Warriors, however. Simmons primary skills are as a defender and playmaker, two skills that Draymond Green is as good or better at. What’s more, is Simmons can’t shoot, a problem for a Warriors’ team that’s offense was well behind its defense last season. Wiggins, is an excellent defender in his own right, and offers much more on the offensive end.
“I imagine they’re going to at least see what’s up. In the end, I do think other teams have better offers, better return on the investment. And I don’t think general managers are like people on Twitter who act like suddenly Ben Simmons is trash and can’t play at all. They’re probably like, most GMs, ‘Man, I can fix him. Give me give him a summer with me, right?’ Like everybody thinks that way. ‘Ben Simmons? I’ll fix that little mental block. And then I got I got a superstar for basically nothing.’
“So I think they’ll vet it and in the end, I do think other teams have better packages, so I wouldn’t bank on it.”
Listen to the full interview below.