Kristaps Porzingis is an enigma for the Dallas Mavericks. After a somewhat successful individual season, the nation saw a Mavericks team barely be able to coexist with Porzingis and Luka Doncic on the floor. With the amount of money owed to Porzingis for the next three seasons ($100 million), some rumors have strong evidence to support Porzingis could be traded this offseason.
Another trade prospect in the rumor mill will be Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons. It was a daunting playoff for Simmons, who averaged only 11.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. While his defense and playmaking are close to elite, Simmons is making a lot of money for someone who is afraid to shoot the ball.
Both players are so young and full of potential. They will both have teams eager to trade for them. However, one team needs to stay away from this and that's the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Need To Stay Away From Kristaps Porzingis
The Lakers owe about $41 million to LeBron James, $35 million to Anthony Davis, and $13 million apiece to both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma. Out of the seven players that are on the roster, that is a combined $102 million to just four players. If the Lakers want any chance of filling out the rest of their roster, the team cannot afford to take on the $31 million that is owed to Porzingis next season, let alone the $100 million owed to him the next three years.
It’s confusing why Porzingis is seen as such a high-needed commodity. While he is a talented player and can shoot at times, he is not a strong rebounder despite standing at 7-foot-3, nor is he a durable player. Health has always been a concern as he has never played a full season in his six-year career, which also meant he missed a full season with an ACL injury.
Porzingis does not fit the mold for the Lakers’ culture either. LeBron has laser focus when it comes to winning games. When the game gets close, we start to see Porzingis fade away. He will stay on the perimeter and try to shoot the long ball. The Lakers already have a player that does that in KCP, so why spend another $31 million for another?
When it comes down to brass tasks, that is all Porzingis is. He is a glorified shooter that owns a horrible contract. He might be only 25 years old, but his contract is a mistake. Taking on the money and the lackluster production that comes with it would be bailing out the Mavericks at this point.
The Need To Stay Away From Ben Simmons
Given that both Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid threw Simmons in front of the bus after losing Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals to the Hawks, there is growing speculation that Simmons could be out of Philly. Coupled with the fact that Simmons recently purchased a mansion in the Los Angeles area, rumors of Simmons joining the Lakers have started to accelerate.
Simmons is in a similar boat as Porzingis when it comes to bad contracts. Simmons is set to make about $33 million next year. Over the next three years after that, his salary jumps to $35 million, $37 million, and ends at $40 million. That’s a lot of money for someone that could average more than 12 points per game in the playoffs.
While Simmons did have better regular numbers, it doesn’t deny the fact of his shooting woes. Simmons owns a career average of 14.7% from the three-point range. His best scoring season came in 2018 when he scored 16.9 points per game. There are some serious offensive flaws in his game and the Lakers cannot afford to bring flawed players to a team that has just a two-year window to win another championship.
Bringing Simmons would hard-cap the team and make it hard to fill out the rest of the roster. Besides, if the Lakers were to add another star, it would be a player that can help LeBron carry the offensive workload. Do you honestly think that is Simmons?