Another report teams expect Simmons to be with 76ers when training camp opens

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Ben Simmons going to Philadelphia 76ers training camp would be… awkward. To say the least.

Simmons doesn’t want it, he wants to be traded this offseason, to the Warriors if possible. To make his point, Simmons reportedly isn’t speaking to 76er players or the organization, with everything going through his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Simmons showing up for camp is far from the ideal situation for the 76ers either. They want to make a deal, but GM Daryl Morey is waiting on a big score, a James Harden-level trade, and so far nothing near that has come available. As reported before, sources have told NBC Sports it’s very possible Simmons is in Sixers training camp, and it could last longer than that.

Here’s a report from Jake Fischer at Bleacher Report saying the same thing.

…the overwhelming sense among league insiders continues to be that Simmons, for now, is expected to remain a Sixer once training camp opens on September 28—barring a change of temperature with Damian Lillard in Portland…

For the Sixers and president Daryl Morey to move Simmons, it will be with an eye toward maximizing the prime of Joel Embiid, who signed a $196 million, 4-year extension Monday night. Therefore trading Simmons now for anything short of a haul that could immediately be flipped for Lillard, in the event he does request a trade, would be a devastating blow for Philadelphia’s front office, and their efforts to pair Embiid with a bonafide superstar.

Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are the two players Philadelphia is clearly most interested in, but whether either one of them becomes available this season is up for debate. Beal seems comfortable after the Russell Westbrook trade and the Wizards are hopeful he will stick around. The buzz around the league on Lillard is what Fischer echoes, that he will start the season in Portland and give new coach Chauncey Billups a chance, maybe ask for a trade before the deadline if things start slowly for the Blazers, but a deal is more likely next offseason.

Philly isn’t going to wait that long.

At some point, Morey’s asking price in a Simmons trade has to come down. He should be willing to lose a little overall talent for a better fit around Joel Embiid — but not a lot of talent. Winning a title now with the newly-paid Embiid has to be the priority.

All of which means Simmons in 76ers camp could be a real thing.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.