Ben Simmons is Leaving Philly—How To Bet On What Team Will Suffer Him Next
MaximBet breaks down the latest odds for every potential Simmons suitor, from the Portland Trailblazers to the Golden State Warriors.
I’ve been covering professional basketball for long enough to know the warning signs when judging a player’s commitment.
If you find yourself standing in the corner of a gymnasium wondering why you chose this line of work because the player you want to interview is spending extra time with the shooting coach, at least you will have something positive to write at the end of practice. You just bore witness to a player actually trying to get better.
That never happened with Ben Simmons, because the guy is simply not committed to being a better NBA player. But if you want a guy who seems determined to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for being first out of the shower and first out the door after a game, Simmons is your guy.
All of this is relevant in this third week of September because NBA teams will be reporting to training camps in a matter of days, and Simmons is not expected to be present in Camden, N.J. when the Philadelphia 76ers reassemble for the first time since their loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.
During that game, Simmons famously ignored a wide-open dunk with 3:29 left and instead passed to Matisse Thybulle on a crucial fourth quarter possession in Game 7. Thybulle was fouled and made only one free throw, leaving the 76ers trailing 88-87, and the Hawks advanced by scoring 15 of the game’s final 24 points.
Simmons struggled badly throughout the series, becoming the target of the Hawks’ intentional fouling. He only hit 32.7 percent of his free throws in the series and showed a total inability to score late in games. Simmons combined for only 19 total points across the last three games of the series.
In the final four games of the Hawks series, he did not attempt a single field goal in any of the fourth quarters. Asked afterward if Simmons was the type of point guard who could lead the Sixers to a championship, coach Doc Rivers answered: “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
Sixers general manager Daryl Morey is reportedly looking for four first-round picks along with a good player in his trade discussions with other teams, which is an astronomical asking price for a player who is considered damaged goods.
The fact that Simmons is under contract for $147 million over the next four seasons makes him especially tough to deal, but reports keep coming out that a number of small-market teams are interested.
But here’s the thing: If Rivers could not motivate Simmons, who can? Rivers worked wonders with Joel Embiid last season, which is why the center from Cameroon finished second in MVP voting and looked like a much hungrier player over the course of the season.
Rivers did what he could with Simmons and had him in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation all season, but when the second round of the playoffs arrived, Simmons simply looked scared. Petrified might actually be a better word.
This question now is where he might be a fit, and the odds say there are a bunch of teams in the mix. Those odds are posted at MaximBet.com.
Ben Simmons Next Odds#RipCity +200#RaisedByWolves +300#SacramentoProud +500#DubNation +700#GoSpursGo +800#WeTheNorth +1000#ThunderUp +1200#BeTheFight +1300#ClipperNation +1400#LakeShow +2200 pic.twitter.com/Tn4j4QAu6k
— MaximBet (@MaximBetUSA) September 14, 2021
Portland Trail Blazers (+200)
Why these guys are the favorites is beyond me, unless someone knows something about Damian Lillard that is not yet public. I know this: When Lillard was a member of Team USA at the Olympics in Tokyo over the summer, I was the journalist who asked him whether he was satisfied with the Blazers’ offseason moves, and he said that he was.
Portland, now officially an anarchist zone, is only two years removed from being in the Western Conference Finals and now has Larry Nance Jr. to replace Carmelo Anthony, Cody Zeller backing up Jusuf Nurkic and Dennis Smith Jr. to back up Lillard.
They are a fairly rock solid team, and in order to get Simmons they would have to start their trade package with Robert Covington, who is their best perimeter defender. They’d also have to throw in a bunch of other players to make the salaries match, and right now Covington is more valuable than Simmons. I cannot see this happening.
Minnesota Timberwolves (+300)
Alex Rodriguez is one of the new owners in charge of this team, and if you think A-Rod is going to part ways with Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards, you’re nuts. Also, D’Angelo Russell’s salary would be a good starting point for salary-matching purposes, but Russell and Towns are tight, and you never want to piss off a superstar like Towns by getting rid of one of his best buddies.
How the heck else is he supposed to have any fun during the long Minnesota winter if he cannot hang with his best bud? I would not rule this one out because A-Rod wants to make a splash, and there is no NBA team with a longer postseason drought than these guys.
But they gave up a No. 1 pick to Golden State to offload Andrew Wiggins’ contract, and good teams (and bad ones) do not usually mortgage the future twice in three years, which is what would be needed to bring in Simmons at the Sixers’ asking price.
Sacramento Kings (+500)
OK, this one makes some sense. The Kings have not made the playoffs since 2005-06, and they have a young backcourt duo in DeAaron Fox and Buddy Hield that already knows there is movement afoot in the front office to offload one or both of them.
A deal sending Kyle Kuzma to the Kings for Hield was all but signed, sealed and delivered before the Lakers pivoted and sent Kuzma to the Washington Wizards as part of the Russell Westbrook trade. Making the money match is tricky, but Fox and Harrison Barnes for Simmons and Tyrese Maxey works cap-wise.
The Kings could go with a starting five of Simmons, Hield, Maxey, Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes, with Tyrese Haliburton anchoring the second unit. The Kings do not have any extra first-round picks, so that could be a dealbreaker.
Golden State Warriors (+700)
This possibility is intriguing. The Warriors will finally have most of the old band back together as Klay Thompson returns after missing two seasons, and they could play Simmons off the ball on offense since Steph Curry runs the offense.
Simmons along with Draymond Green would give Golden State two of the best defenders in the league, as he would be another young addition to Steve Kerr’s roster to play alongside James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in the years ahead. Andrew Wiggins’ salary is a match for Simmons, and if agent Rich Paul insists that Maxey be a part of the deal, too, then Juan Toscano-Anderson could be thrown in.
The Warriors already owe a 2024 first-round pick to Memphis, so sending multiple future firsts to Philly could be problematic. Then again, the Warriors should be very good for years to come, so those are not exactly going to be lottery picks.
San Antonio Spurs (+800)
These guys are going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season after losing DeMar DeRozan and Patty Mills. But if there is anyone (aside from Rivers) who can motivate Simmons to be a harder worker, it’s Gregg Popovich, who has signed Australian center Jock Landale, a would-be Olympic teammate of Simmons for Australia had Simmons chosen to play in Tokyo.
Finding a trade match salary-wide is tricky, but Derrick White and Dejounte Murray (both point guards) add up to match Simmons’ salary. The Spurs are sitting on a 2025 first-round pick from Chicago that they acquired as part of the DeRozan trade.
Pop usually avoids knuckleheads like the plague, but he did have Kawhi Leonard on his roster for quite some time, and the two respected each other. This one makes some sense if Philly lowers its asking price.
Toronto Raptors (+1000)
They will not be playing in Tampa this season, so that is one positive. But they also are without Kyle Lowry and will be letting Fred VanVleet and Goran Dragic handle the playmaking chores. If they were to acquire Simmons they would either have him share ballhandling duties with VanVleet and Dragic or play him off the ball as a power forward.
The only deal that works money-wise would send Pascal Siakam to Philadelphia, and the Raptors do not want to have the smallest lineup in the league, so that makes little sense unless this deal were to be expanded to include Dragic going to Philly and Tobias Harris being a part of the package going to Toronto.
The Raptors do not have any extra first round picks and do not figure to be any good anytime soon, so this would be a very risky move.
Other Potential Ben Simmons Suiters
Also on the board are the Oklahoma City Thunder (+1200), the Cleveland Cavaliers (+1300), the Los Angeles Clippers (+1400) and the Los Angeles Lakers (+2200). One of them should have the fortune or misfortune of getting Simmons, otherwise Rivers and the hard-to-please fans in Philly are stuck with him.
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