NBA

Warriors owner Joe Lacob fined $50,000 by NBA for tampering after downplaying possible Ben Simmons trade

Perhaps we can cross the Golden State Warriors off of the list of potential suitors for Philadelphia 76ers All-Star forward Ben Simmons. The Warriors have been consistently mentioned as a potential landing spot for Simmons, who made it clear to Philadelphia’s front office that he would like to be traded to another organization. However, during an interview with Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, Warriors owner Joe Lacob touched on the topic and mentioned a few reasons why the Warriors would be hesitant to make a move for Simmons. Lacob listed Simmons’ sizable contract, his late-game struggles in the postseason, and his similarity to Draymond Green as issues. 

“I think we are always looking at everything to see if we can improve our team. We would always look,” Lacob said. “In some ways, [a trade for Simmons] doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know. He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond [Green]. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”

While Lacob wasn’t expressing an interest in Simmons, he did technically discuss the availability of a player currently under contract with another team. The NBA, therefore, responded by fining him $50,000 on Wednesday for violating the league’s tampering rules. 

Lacob’s comments, especially regarding Simmons’ similarity to Green aren’t especially surprising. A previous report from Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area suggested that a trade for Simmons would be a no-go for the Warriors as long as Green was on the roster. “According to league sources, any interest the Warriors might have in Simmons is conditional,” Poole wrote. “In short, they’re not that interested as long as Draymond Green is on the roster.” 

The Warriors were one of the teams that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey called while shopping Simmons early in the offseason. At that time, the Sixers asked for a package of Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft and two future first-rounders. The Warriors declined, and talks between the two teams ended there. 

Lacob couldn’t say much more about Simmons publicly because of the NBA’s tampering rules, but he certainly didn’t make it seem like the Warriors are a team angling to acquire the Sixers star. Obviously, the team’s stance could change as time goes on — perhaps if they get off to a slow start during the upcoming campaign. But the way Lacob sees it, Golden State, as currently constructed, should be back in the contender conversation in short order. 

“Hopefully, this year, we’ll compete for a championship,” Lacob said. “I think we should. Over the next four to five years, I think we should continue that and have a second great decade in a row.”  

Things can certainly change, but for now, it seems like the Warriors are happy with what they have. So, the Sixers will have to locate a different landing spot for Simmons. 



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