Ben Simmons update: 76ers expect him to show up, play this season

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The latest Ben Simmons trade rumor update… is that there’s really not much of an update.

Simmons has threatened not to show up to training camp, and the latest report — from Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times and the USA Today — is the expected pushback from management that they expect he will show. Eventually.

Of course 76ers management says they expect Simmons to play, what else are they going to say?

This standoff is where things are now, and as much as there is a lot of sound and fury on NBA Twitter, it signifies nothing. The situation is the same as it has been for weeks, if not since the end of the season. Here’s a little reminder of where things stand:

• Simmons representatives asked for a trade and the Sixers have tried to find a deal.
• The 76ers have asked for a “Harden-like” package for the 25-year-old three-time All-Star who was second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. Specifically, they have wanted an All-Star level player back because, with Joel Embiid, the 76ers are a win-now team, plus picks and more
• No team has come anywhere close to that kind of offer. Simmons’ value, coming off the playoffs, is at an all-time low.
• While there are multiple teams still talking to the 76ers on some level, nothing is close. The Timberwolves want a deal but will not include Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards, and only reluctantly De’Angelo Russell, so they need to find a third team with players the 76ers want and have had no success. The Kings will not put D’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a trade, and Philly has no interest in Marvin Bagley III for several reasons. It is the same with all the offers coming to the 76ers. Even if Morey brought his expectations down to reasonable, the current offers on the table do not meet that standard.
• There is no Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard level trade for Simmons coming in the short term (and maybe the long term).
• Simmons has told the 76ers its not his job to come back and rehab his trade value, they need to find a deal. If not, he will hold out.
• Now Philly has made their statement. Eventually, Sixers management will need to decide if they want to fine Simmons for not showing up to camp (and possibly games) — in this report they say they will, but actually going through with it is something else.
• Simmons is trying to make things uncomfortable for the 76ers to force their hand — and succeeding on some level — the question is how uncomfortable are Daryl Morey and the 76ers willing to get?

This is likely resolved more like James Harden‘s trade request out of Houston a season ago — we will be a little way into the season before a deal gets done. Simmons will get traded, but don’t bet on it happening before training camp starts.

If you want more detail on the Simmons situation and how it might shake out, listen to NBC’s Dan Feldman and Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia discuss the situation on a recent PBT Podcast.

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.