What Does Latest Ben Simmons Drama Mean for Timberwolves Trade Hopes?

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant – NBAE via Getty Images

Ever since the Ben Simmons trade rumors got started, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been the only team consistently involved. The Wolves front office has gone out of its way to show the Philadelphia 76ers that they’re serious about dealing for the 25-year-old LSU alum.

But like every other team that’s shown interest in Simmons, Minnesota hasn’t been able to meet the Sixers’ asking price. Philly wants a star in return. They want compensation that’ll help them win now, not later. When negotiating with the Wolves, that means discussing pieces like Anthony Edwards or Karl-Anthony Towns. At the very least, D’Angelo Russell.

The Timberwolves have declined to talk seriously, and rightfully so, if it means involving one of their young stars. With that impasse, conversations went quiet. Trade rumors got especially mute last week when Ben Simmons unexpectedly reported for Sixers camp.

Simmons returns to Sixers practice… momentarily

Simmons passed COVID protocols and joined his Philadelphia teammates for practice the last few days. Head coach, Doc Rivers and teammates quickly realized that Ben wasn’t fully present. In fact, he was so disengaged that, after refusing to participate in a defensive drill, he was kicked out of practice, suspended for one game and fined $1.4 million by the team.

It was a pretty good start to the year.

“I didn’t think he wanted to do what everyone else was doing,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the team announced Simmons’ suspension.

Sources tell The Athletic that Rivers asked Simmons to join a defensive drill at practice and the point guard refused. Rivers asked again and Simmons said no again. Rivers then told Simmons he should go home, and the 25-year-old dropped the ball and left, according to sources.

Shams – The Athletic

Embiid piles on

The disgust for Simmons’ behavior from Tuesday’s practice didn’t end with the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach. Joel Embiid had to share his two-cents on the dysfunction and he, per usual, didn’t hold back. If one thing became clear today, it’s that this situation is untenable.

As Minnesota Timberwolves fans, we know all too well how this story ends.

Joel Embiid has to know that he’s not helping the 76ers in their quest to maximize Ben Simmons’ trade value. If so, he obviously doesn’t care. If this is how Embiid and his teammates feel, how can Sixers GM Daryl Morey possibly hang onto him?

Optimal outcome for Minnesota

Ben Simmons’ trade value took a hit today. That’s a fact. He’s cheaper right now than he has been throughout this entire process. Simmons clearly isn’t interested in playing basketball for the Sixers, even if forced to take the floor. His Philadelphia teammates are, understandably, fed up.

It’s a scene that’s very reminiscent of what the Timberwolves had to go through with Jimmy Butler years ago. Like Jimmy, Ben showed up to camp and immediately caused chaos that’s unlikely to be resolved until he’s traded.

GM, Daryl Morey can lie to Woj all he wants. I’d expect nothing less.

The Sixers are trying to grasp at any leverage they might still hold. But reality says they’ll have to deal Ben Simmons at a discount now.

For a Wolves team that has likely been offering Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels, and a couple first round picks, that’s great news. You can bet Sachin Gupta and Minnesota Timberwolves’ new ownership wants to land Ben Simmons and might even be on the phone with Philly reps right now. We’ll see if they’re the highest bidders now that the price has dropped.

Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan