Prior to the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery, reports from Yahoo's The Vertical stated that LSU forward Ben Simmons desperately hoped to land in Los Angeles in order to get Nike to budge on their sneaker deal offer.
Projected top pick Ben Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul, are now changing course and plan to wait until after the NBA's draft lottery on Tuesday to decide with which shoe brand to sign, sources told The Vertical.
The thinking from Simmons' camp is straightforward and simple: It’s the Los Angeles Lakers or bust.
The early strategy from Simmons and his Klutch Sports Group representation was believed to be a desire to sign a shoe deal before the draft lottery, but they aren’t satisfied with the Nike offer, sources said. They're hoping that if the Lakers land the top overall pick – which they have a 19.9 percent chance of doing – Nike will move closer to matching adidas’ offer.
Things certainly did not work out the way Rich Paul would have liked. Because Philadelphia received the top pick, there were whispers that Ben Simmons' camp would try and force their way to the Lakers. Reports out of Australia seem to paint a different picture.
Was told by a source close to Ben Simmons' camp, before the lottery, that they have no issue with the market in Philadelphia— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) May 18, 2016
Source said lottery implications had nothing to do with Simmons holding off on shoe deal signing. Whatever the case, this'll be a fun month— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) May 18, 2016
The veracity of those reports can be debated just like anything else during this time of year, but the thought of a prospect being able to dodge the team with the number one pick in the draft is sort of asinine. Philadelphia has the ability to select him whether he likes it or not, so the only thing he would accomplish by refusing to workout for the Sixers or withholding medical records would be to alienate himself from the team's fanbase. Not the wisest decision, even if he really doesn't want to be on the Sixers.
While Philadelphia's media market does pale in comparison to Los Angeles, it's still one of the largest in the NBA. Courtesy of Reddit user humanhighlightreel and Nielsen, Philadelphia has the fifth largest market, ahead of teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics. Simmons would certainly get the media coverage he deserves as a Sixer.
Regardless of whatever reports may make headlines over the next month, both Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram seem like they'll be happy with either landing spot.
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