The NBA’s February 10 trade deadline is creeping closer and the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be one of the biggest movers before that window slams shut.
Despite consistent 30-point showings from LeBron James, the Lakers look anything but a title contender at the moment, only snapping a five-game losing streak on Wednesday.
While not the only problem, Russell Westbrook’s fit at the Lakers is questionable but moving him on would be challenging as he is owed $91 million ($A126m) over this season and the next.
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MORE: Breaking down each possible deal in race to land Ben Simmons
Just ask the Philaelphia 76ers, who are on the lookout for a suitor in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes but still not desperate enough to take on Westbrook.
That is according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, who said on ‘The Anthony Irwin Show’ that Westbrook is not even on Philadelphia’s list of trade targets.
“What I was told is that the Lakers called Philly and they said ‘we’re interested in Ben’… it was a short conversation,” he said.
“Being that to get there the only salary numbers that could match Ben Simmons’ own expensive salary is AD [Anthony Davis], or LeBron, or Russ [Westbrook].
“THT [Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn and a bunch of minimums aren’t getting there.
“Like literally, the only way of getting there contractually is to put in Russell Westbrook. And he’s just not a player (the Sixers want).
“The Sixers have a literal, tangible (list). I don’t know how long it is, but somewhere between 20 and 30 players that they would take back for Ben Simmons. They do.”
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Damian Lillard, James Harden, Bradley Beal, Jaylen Brown and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are among the names on that list but none seem to be available at this stage in any trade talks.
NBA insider Shams Charania had first mentioned the Lakers as an interested party in the Simmons trade market earlier this month.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski though reported on Wednesday that the Sixers are expected to re-engage with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves shortly.
He also named the Cleveland Cavaliers as a “team to watch” while the San Antonio Spurs have also been reported to still be keen on Simmons.