There have been plenty of rumors swirling around NBA circles that Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons is seeking a trade to a California based team. If the Clippers make such a trade, it will show that the franchise is desperate to win their first ever NBA championship.
Although the Clippers team as it is now constructed is good enough to at least make it to the Western Conference Finals as they did last season, there are still question marks going into the 2021-2022 season.
Will Kawhi Leonard play at all this upcoming season, and if so, how effective will he be after recovering from a torn ACL? Can Reggie Jackson play as consistently as he did during last season’s playoffs? Will Luke Kennard’s game improve enough to justify a 4-yr, $16M per year contract?
Ben Simmons is not the player that will take the LA Clippers over the top.
Pundits across NBA circles agree that Ben Simmons is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, is very athletic, and has a high basketball IQ. However, are those three attributes worth his current contract which has four years remaining at roughly $36M per year?
Watching Simmons in the playoffs last season with the 76ers was very painful. I have never seen an NBA player with the accolades given to Simmons who is flat out scared to shoot the ball from the perimeter.
There were times where Simmons was relegated to the bench in favor of rookie Tyrese Maxey. Former Clippers coach and current coach of the 76ers Doc Rivers obviously did not have much confidence in Simmons down the stretch in pivotal playoff games.
Not only does Simmons refuse to even attempt to shoot from the outside, he is also a horrible free throw shooter for a guy who has the ball in his hands as much as he does. Last season, Simmons shot only 61.3% from the charity stripe. That simply is not going to cut it for a point guard on a team trying to win a championship.
Even if the Clippers wanted to acquire Simmons, who are they going to give up to match the salary of Simmons?
The first player that comes to mind is the aforementioned Kennard, who again will be in the first year of his $16 million/yr contract. Having said that, you would have to give up much more than Kennard to acquire Simmons. Your core players of Leonard, Paul George, Reggie Jackson, and the recently acquired Eric Bledsoe are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Based on all of these facts, the Clippers should pass on Simmons and allow him to get traded to another California franchise such as the Sacramento Kings. Now is not the time for the Clippers organization to be desperate or panic. Stay the course and stay away from the Ben Simmons sweepstakes.
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L.A. Ray Harris
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