Former NBL champion Lanard Copeland says he’s “hearing” rumours of a Ben Simmons trade which will likely occur after Christmas.
The 2021-22 NBA season is approaching its halfway point, and Simmons, who has requested a trade out of Philadelphia, is yet to make his return to the court due to mental health reasons.
While fans await the Australian star’s return, recently Simmons’ name has been linked to a move with several rivals – LA Lakers, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers – according to The Athletic.
Copeland claims he has “heard there were 12 teams” sounding out the Philadelphia 76ers over a move for the three-time NBA All-Star, which could happen in just a matter of days.
Copeland, a two-time NBL champion and former Sydney Kings assistant coach, suggested Simmons will likely find a home with a western conference NBA team, rather than the east where he currently is.
“There are teams out there in the NBA who are struggling and would love a Ben Simmons right now,” Copeland said on Sportsday NSW.
“They’re working on trades right now. I heard there were 12 teams staking him (out) right now.
“Philadelphia are probably going to be smart and ship him to the west coast because they know how valuable Ben is.
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“They don’t want to play Ben five or six times a year. They send him to the west coast and whatever deal works best for them, then things will happen.
“From what I’m hearing, something is going to happen right after Christmas and hopefully Ben will be playing again.”
Copeland’s claim of a move around the Christmas period comes as no surprise.
Since December 16, just over 110 players who signed deals during the recent off-season are now eligible to be traded, which would make facilitating a trade a much easier job for the 76ers with more players available.
The NBA trade deadline for this season is February 10.
Simmons is expected to earn close to $45 million for the 2021-22 NBA season alone.
Earlier this month, Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers was asked about the Simmons situation but suggested it was a matter for the 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand.
“I literally don’t even talk about it. I coach the team and the guys that I can see every day,” Rivers said.
“I let Daryl and Elton deal with all of the other stuff.”
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