Timberwolves must do whatever it takes to trade for Ben Simmons
This seems like a match made in heaven. Daryl Morey and Gersson Rosas were colleagues in Houston not too long ago. Camaraderie goes a long way in any industry. However, camaraderie is just one of the millions of elements needed in pulling off any transaction.
The 76ers rightfully want an All-Star caliber player in exchange for Simmons. Looking at the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards fit this mold. Rosas, who understandably sees the three players as important building blocks, has no interest whatsoever in inserting one of them into a trade package for Simmons. This simply means that no trade is about to happen between the two parties. If the 76ers were a rebuilding squad, then they just might say yes to giving up Simmons for a bunch of role players, savvy veterans, and some picks. But they are a team that’s just a few steps away from winning a title.
Given this reality, the decision entirely lies on the Timberwolves whether to compromise or stick to their guns. Choosing the latter means bidding goodbye to Simmons forever. Unlike the 76ers, the Timberwolves have nothing to lose at this point. They are still a rebuilding squad who, through roster tweaks and coaching changes over the last few seasons, have been mixing and matching with hopes of finally finding the perfect pieces to the puzzle.
The Timberwolves believe that they have reached the final stage of this process. Thus the adamance to keep the Towns-Russell-Edwards intact. That’s why they see no reason as to why they should give one up for a brand new player. Simmons’ stock, which went on a nosedive after his mediocre playoff performance, has without a doubt affected their perception of the Australian. Like most NBA fans and analysts, the Timberwolves are at odds if Simmons can really guide a team to a championship.
These are all valid points. You don’t need to stretch the limits of logic to understand why the Timberwolves have no inkling in agreeing to whatever deal that involves their big three and the Australian — at least in the first half of the 2021-22 NBA Season. After all, amid all the criticisms hurled at Simmons, the Wolves still need to do their own due diligence.
The fact of the matter is that Simmons has a better NBA resume than Towns and Russell combined (we’re leaving Edwards out of it since he’s just a young stud). If you really think about it, the only hole (and it’s a massive one) is Simmons’ lack of a jump shot. Other than that, he has tremendous IQ on both ends of the floor, crisp passing ability, and of course, he has playoff experience which is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. His problems on offense will likely resolve themselves in the next few years. At the end of the day, they have to trust in the fact that Simmons is a true professional and a competitor. He is working on that jumper as we speak.
Trading for Simmons doesn’t necessarily need to happen now. Yes, the Timberwolves look good on paper. But if they still have a losing record in the midseason, then they need to revisit the 76ers demands of swapping a star for a star. The choice is theirs. A straight-up swap for Towns could work. Regarding Russell or Edwards, it’ll likely be a package that includes someone like Malik Beasley and Taurean Prince.
Letting Russell go will give them a much-better offensive orchestrator — something that will greatly benefit both Towns, Edwards, and the rest of the team. Letting Towns go, meanwhile, could transform the Timberwolves into a high-octane offense. However, given how Chris Finch seems to have a penchant for running the offense in the low-block through Towns, the big man is probably an untouchable piece. Speaking of post-ups, Simmons is fairly decent in this regard. Finch would have the enviable job of choosing who to post-up between Simmons and Towns.
Whether a trade goes down between the 76ers and the Timberwolves is a matter of wait-and-see. We may have to wait until the February trade deadline to see if the Timberwolves have fully decided or not. If they do lock a winning record by then, then all is well and life goes on.
However, if they continue their poor streak and miss the playoffs for the 16th time in 17 years, then the blame is on them again. Once the front office sits down to evaluate their season, the Ben Simmons trade request which they panned over and over, would be one of the points of a strung-out and tedious discussion.