It has not been a well-kept secret that the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in acquiring Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Minnesota president Gersson Rosas is looking to make that franchise-altering move to team the three-time All-Star up with the core group of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that Minnesota does not have the win-now assets to offer up to Philadelphia in a Ben Simmons trade. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, it would likely take a third team to pry Simmons from Philadelphia.
“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,” the NBA insider reported. “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.”
How would a Ben Simmons trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves look?
Following the acquisition of Patrick Beverley, the Wolves find themselves roughly $15 million over the cap. Any move to acquire Simmons would have to see incoming and outgoing salaries pretty much match.
As for the 25-year-old Simmons, he’s slated to count $33 million against the cap in 2021-22. What does this mean? Without getting into the complexities of the salary cap too much, D’Angelo Russell would likely have to head out of town. He’d also be the centerpiece in a two-team trade with Philadelphia. That’s likely an issue for 76ers president Daryl Morey, and explains why this is so complicated.
The question then becomes who might take on Russell and other assets to help facilitate a trade that sends Ben Simmons to the Twin Cities.
The Toronto Raptors might be willing to take on Russell to pair with Fred VanVleet in the backcourt if more assets are sent to Canada from Minnesota. In this scenario, Pascal Siakam heads to Philadelphia. Perhaps, Goran Dragic also makes his way to the 76ers after being involved in the Kyle Lowry blockbuster sign-and-trade.
Could the Indiana Pacers potentially get involved in a move that would send Malcolm Brogdon and other assets to Philadelphia? It was noted recently that Indiana offered up Brogdon in a two-team trade for Ben Simmons. Whether he’d be available for a package including Russell remains to be seen.
At this point in the NBA offseason, there’s very little options available to the Minnesota Timberwolves as it relates to pulling off a three-team trade for Simmons.
Other teams such as the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings — all of whom have shown interest in Simmons — are better equipped to pull off a more-traditional deal for Ben Simmons.
In no way does this mean the three-time All-Star won’t be suiting up in Minnesota next season. It’s now all about making it work.