With Russell Westbrook struggling to adjust to life in Los Angeles, it's only natural for his name to become the subject of countless trade rumors around the association.
With many fans and executives calling the Russ experiment a failure, the Purple and Gold are experiencing increased pressure to trade the star point guard.
The only question is, where?
With interest understandably low, the Philadelphia 76ers stand out as one of the most realistic options. With their own struggling star dead-set on leaving the franchise, a Simmons/ Westbrook swap does make sense in a lot of people's eyes.
Unfortunately, the Sixers aren't particularly keen on the idea.
As I’ve said and written before, it’s worth remembering that Morey is only 30 months removed from a blockbuster trade of his doing that was, in retrospect, quite regrettable: In his last offseason heading the Houston Rockets front office, Morey sent Chris Paul, two first-round picks and two pick swaps to Oklahoma City in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The friction between then-Rockets star Harden and Paul was quite high at the time, so there was a fair amount of pressure from all sides — including owner Tilman Fertitta — to make the deal.
But we forget sometimes that executives are ultra-competitive in their professions as well, and it’s safe to say Morey has no interest in executing a bad deal because of pressure ever again. As an aside, sources say that’s also the reason the Sixers have zero interest in the prospect of swapping Simmons for Westbrook and alleviating the Lakers’ fit concerns with their superstar trio.
Morey has experience trading star-level players before, including Chris Paul and James Harden. He didn't exactly come out as the victor in either trade.
So, considering his past, it makes sense that he would be so callous and stubborn with the Simmons deal. In this case, though, he is also at a unique advantage. Since he signed a 5-year extension in 2019, Ben is under contract until 2025, meaning the Sixers have all the time in the world to trade him.
A guy like Westbrook would be a questionable fit with Embiid. He's barely a better shooter than Ben and doesn't have nearly the same impact defensively.
Looks like the Lakers are stuck with Westbrook, at least for now.
Regarding the Sixers, they haven't yet given up hope of acquiring that tier-1 star. But it looks like their war with Simmons could drag on well into the summer.