Prior to the Sixers’ game against the Lakers on Sunday, Magic Johnson was asked a generic question about Ben Simmons. In his response, Magic dropped the nugget that Simmons had actually attempted to reach out to Magic about working together in the off-season. As it goes, Ben’s play style is similar to that of a young Magic, and so it would be to the benefit of Simmons to learn from Magic.
Here are Magic Jonshon’s full comments on potentially working out with Ben Simmons this off-season. He reinforces that approval from all three parties (Lakers, 76ers and the NBA) is first required. pic.twitter.com/l26Zh4e5JW— Ben Mallis (@BenMallis) February 10, 2019
Now while Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have done little since taking over the Lakers besides signing LeBron James and tampering with players across the league, it sounds like they may actually be innocent in this case. The parties involved, from Magic Johnson to Elton Brand this morning on 97.5 the Fanatic, have all stated that Simmons initiated contact with Magic. So much as I’d love to see the NBA league office actually punish the Lakers for breaking the rules of the league, I don’t think they’ll be able to do so here. Or so I thought.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA will look into the Lakers contact with Simmons to see if there were any rules violations:
NBA spokesman Mike Bass tells ESPN: “The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules.”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
I like to see this from the NBA, even though I doubt it results in any action from the league. I assure you, Magic Johnson isn’t open to working with Simmons out of charity; he’d do it for the sole purpose of opening Ben’s mind to playing in LA.
For now, this seems like nothing more than a slow-news-day story. Elton Brand has already been making the rounds to squash any Ben-to-the-Lakers paranoia, and emphasize that Ben is just looking to improve his game. Not to mention that it’s entirely unrealistic that Simmons makes his way to LA, or anywhere else than Philly, in any less than five years (one year left on rookie deal, plus a very likely four-year extension). Also not to mention that Simmons has not indicated in any way that he wants to be a Laker, or be traded from the Sixers at all.
Magic Johnson can take his advice and shove it.