The Los Angeles Lakers are in the brink of creating a promising team that could fill the void left by the end of the Kobe Bryant era. With young stars D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson leading the roster, the contention is that a strong veteran presence will be pursued this NBA offseason. Given the Kevin Durant free agency possibility and the huge cap space of the Los Angeles Lakers, it is highly likely that the Luke Walton team will pursue the Oklahoma City Thunder star. What does this plan mean for Ben Simmons?
Even before the NBA season started to heat up, the Los Angeles Lakers have been widely reported to target Ben Simmons. The Australian star, who is a close friend of rookie D'Angelo Russell, has been wooed by a number of basketball teams including the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. However, the LSU Tigers star is reportedly leaning on signing with the Kobe Bryant team.
Throughout the season, the entry of Ben Simmons in the Los Angeles Lakers roster has been considered an "expected" situation with both the LSU star and Russell actually discussing the possibility of playing together. With the impressive salary cap space of the Larry Nance, Jr team , however, it looks like plans might have changed. That is, the Los Angeles Lakers might no longer be interested in splurging for new talent. Instead, rumors are rife that the Kevin Durant free agency might see the Oklahoma City Thunder star leave Russell Westbrook for a huge max contract with the LA team.
Where does this leave Ben Simmons? If rumors are to be believed, then the LSU Tigers star might sign with the Miami Heat instead. With the uncertain future of Chris Bosh and the impending retirement of Dwyane Wade, the former LeBron James team is reportedly looking for a young star to build their group around. At the moment, Hassan Whiteside is said to be the potential face of the Miami Heat. However, it looks like Ben Simmons could be a better candidate.
Is this possible? Do the Miami Heat have the cash to lure Ben Simmons into their roster? The answer is yes. In fact, the Hassan Whiteside squad is in a remarkable position right now to pursue bankable stars - either in the NBA draft or free agency. Will Ben Simmons be a good fit to play alongside Dwyane Wade and Justise Winslow?
"Ben Simmons is an easy choice for the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft," noted Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. He further shared, "No player in college basketball was as scrutinized as the 6-11 import from Australia was last season and the criticism was ludicrous at times considering the ancillary pieces that he played with at LSU."
Rothstein went on to point out, "Simmons is a transcendent talent and one that did everything listed above with a solid, but far from elite supporting cast." At the moment, Ben Simmons is in competition against Brandon Ingram for the top NBA draft pick this year.