Ben Simmons is one of the hottest names out there as the 2016 NBA Draft comes into focus, and the Philadelphia 76ers have the first pick of the draft. However, there have been rumors floating around that the LSU product and Aussie star would rather play for the Los Angeles Lakers, who own the No. 2 overall pick.
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo isn’t buying into those rumors.
“Some people like to poison the well,” Colangelo said Sunday on SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio’s NBA Sunday Tip. “We’ve got good relationships with the agent [Rich Paul] and with the family because Brett Brown has known Ben Simmons’ father for years.”
It’s easy to understand why Simmons — a long-time Lakers fans — might want to play in Los Angeles. Nick DePaula of The Vertical recently reported Simmons and his camp as hopeful to land with the Lakers because there would be more endorsement money for a shoe deal.
That said, another report by Olgun Uluc of FOX Sports Australia seems to indicate the sports market as a non-factor.
Was told by a source close to Ben Simmons' camp, before the lottery, that they have no issue with the market in Philadelphia
— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) May 18, 2016
Colangelo is excited about the roster they have assembled over the past few years but admits his team is still missing that one, definitive star.
“We are still looking for that first one — if that comes in the form of the first pick in this draft, if that comes in the form of a player we acquire via trade or free agency.”
No doubt, the 76ers are hoping it comes in the form of the first pick.
All signs point to Simmons being that pick. Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding reported recently that the Sixers are “leaning heavily” towards taking Simmons No. 1 overall, and Angus Crawford of Sporting News Australia reported that “the Sixers do not have any hesitation in assessing Simmons and one month out, appear to be have him atop their board, according to sources close to the situation.”
In his freshman season at LSU, Simmons scored 19.2 points, pulled down 11.8 rebounds, dished 4.8 assists and averaged two steals per game.