The New York Knicks have emerged as one of the several teams interested in trading for disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the latest intel on Simmons on Monday.
The Knicks are struggling to perform to expectations following their first playoff appearance in eight years. Their offseason acquisitions — Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier — have not panned out well. They will be eligible to be traded starting Wednesday along with several players the Knicks re-signed last summer.
The 25-year old Simmons would fit Tom Thibodeau’s defensive style. But his character, especially his mental toughness, is questionable in the aftermath of his falling out with the Sixers organization. Add to that a shaky perimeter shot that hasn’t improved since his rookie season.Â But a fresh start in a new environment could reinvigorate Simmons.
However, the big question for the Knicks is if Simmons could not stand Philadelphia’s tough love, how much more in New York where pressure has driven executives, coaches, and players out of the city in the past?
Can Simmons thrive under Thibodeau’s culture of accountability?
The next question is, how can they meet 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s stiff asking price?
Morey is reportedly still eyeing an All-Star caliber player and/or multiple first-round draft picks for Simmons.
The Knicks have plenty of draft capital to move in a potential Simmons deal. They own all their future first-round picks plus future first-round picks from Charlotte (top-18 protected in 2022, top-16 protected in 2023, top-14 protected in 2024), and Dallas (top-10 protected in 2023).
But the Knicks have only Julius Randle as their All-Star. But he is not eligible to be traded until February 3 next year. Walker is two years removed from his last All-Star. But his current benching isn’t helping his value.
The Sixers, though, would be an ideal landing spot for Walker. His veteran leadership and still potent jump shot could spur a better dynamic with Joel Embiid than Simmons. That is if Walker’s balky knees cooperate. Walker has missed two games in a pair of back-to-back sets before his demotion.
Simmons landing in New York is a long shot unless the Knicks find a third team or the 76ers are amenable to getting Walker, one of the Knicks’ young players, and a combination of salary fillers plus future first-round pick/s.
The Knicks have stiff competition from the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers, per Charania’s report.
Most of their rivals have a surplus of All-Star caliber players in their current roster. But the Knicks have the advantage of having a deeper draft capital.
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