Timberwolves ‘Badly’ Want To Trade For 76ers’ Ben Simmons

The Timberwolves are among the teams with an interest in guard/forward Ben Simmons as the 76ers weigh a trade, per Darren Wolfson of SKOR North, via HoopsRumors.Ben Simmons

“I texted with somebody that knows Ben Simmons incredibly well (and) has working knowledge of all things NBA,” Wolfson said on The Scoop. “My text the other day said, ‘How badly do the Wolves want to trade for Ben Simmons?’ This individual sent me a text back, it was one word: ‘Badly.'”

Wolfson added that Simmons has been on the Timberwolves’ radar for some time.

“Make no mistake, the Wolves have trade interest in Ben Simmons,” Wolfson said. “… (President of basketball operations) Gersson Rosas is going to show — or already has, going back many months — interest in Ben Simmons.”

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, agent Rich Paul recently met with Sixers director of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand to discuss Simmons’ future with the franchise. The sides intend to keep such talks going, per Wojnarowski.

Simmons has been at the center of trade rumors ever since a subpar showing in a Game 7 home loss to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals — though it appears no trade request was made.

Instead, Paul met with the Sixers to discuss whether it would make sense to work together in a potential trade centered on Simmons, Wojnarowski reported. For now, Woj added, the Sixers are determined to keep Simmons.

But that could change, as opposing teams have been gauging the Sixers’ interest in trade packages at the NBA Combine in Chicago, per Wojnarowski.

Simmons, 24, still has four years and $147 million remaining on his contract. Wojnarowski added that more talks between Paul and the Sixers are expected throughout the offseason.

Publicly, Morey has left the door open to trying to improve a team that already features Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, and finished with the best record in the East.

“We have a very strong group we believe in,” Morey said at his season-ending press conference. “None of us can predict the future of what’s going to happen in any, in any place. We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel brings, we love what Tobias brings.

“In terms of what’s next, we’re going to do what’s best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster.”

Simmons went just 15-of-45 on free throws in the seven-game series vs. the Hawks. For the playoffs, he shot 34.2 percent from the line — the worst in postseason history for players with at least 70 attempts.

“Offensively, I wasn’t there. I didn’t do enough for my teammates,” Simmons said. “There’s a lot of things that I need to work on.”

Still, he averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists during the regular season, and is considered one of the top two or three defenders in the league, perhaps the very best on the perimeter.

He said after the season he prefers to stay with the 76ers.

Yeah, I love being in Philly. I love this organization,” he said. “The fans are great people. I had a bad series. I expect that (boos). It’s Philly.”

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