NBA 2019: Ben Simmons Magic Johnson trick shut down by 76ers
The Ben Simmons-Lakers situation is just a little too friendly for Philadelphia’s liking.
After the Australian point guard and Lakers boss Magic Johnson spoke about their desire to work out together this summer and trade “big guard” secrets, the 76ers have shut it down.
Johnson, who has been fined by the NBA for tampering in the past, sent Philly fans into panic mode when he revealed the proposal at yesterday’s Lakers-76ers game.
“(Ben) reached out to me, not to me directly, to the Lakers, to find out if we can get together this summer,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Hey, you’d have to clear it with the league. Everybody. The Sixers sign off. We sign off. The league sign off that nothing is going on.’
“But he wants to know how to play the position as a big guard, da, da, da, da, da da. It’s fine. I will do that.”
Simmons, who will appear in his first All-Star Game later this month, said the similarities in both his and Johnson’s game would make for an ideal partnership.
“Trying to learn from somebody like that would be huge,” Simmons said. “Getting to speak to him — he’s had to play the 5 and win a championship — and he’s in the Hall of Fame. In terms of what position I’m in, a 6-10 point guard, I think it would help.”
Here is Ben Simmons’ response to Magic Johnson’s comments. Said he would definitely like to learn from Johnson and cited some of the many similarities between the pair. pic.twitter.com/eIxNEGGmMe— Ben Mallis (@BenMallis) February 10, 2019
There’s also intrigue in terms of what Johnson could do for Simmons’ jump shot. With Philadelphia stacking more weapons at the deadline, Simmons’ role could change, and he showed a small glimpse on Monday by attempting a rare three-pointer in the third quarter.
Johnson’s shot was a liability for most of his career, but toward the end he had become respectable enough that opponents had to at least respect the possibility.
In his final three years, Johnson shot over 30 per cent from three after barely breaking 20 per cent his first nine. Simmons is 0-for-14 in his career from three after Monday’s miss.
But the Aussie is going to have to keep learning his craft from the likes of Brett Brown and JJ Redick because his franchise has given the plan a firm no.
“(Lakers GM) Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben (Simmons) wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season, Magic was on the list,” 76ers general manager Elton Brand said Tuesday on 97.5 The Fanatic’s “Gargano & Myrtetus Middays” show. “He asked for authorisation ... I said no. This was over a month ago.”
Philadelphia’s stance divided opinion. Many thought it was a completely reasonable response to protect their interests. Others thought it was bordering on a nanny state situation.
Perhaps what’s most interesting is Johnson and Simmons talking like the idea is still on the table when Brand says he’s closed the book.
Ben Simmons is going to sign the rookie scale max with the Sixers because no one turns down $150 million, so the only real storyline from him wanting to work out with Magic Johnson is simply another example of a really self-aware young star doing the right thing.— Andrew Porter (@And_Porter) February 11, 2019
What was Elton Brand supposed to say “sure, sounds like a great idea. We were hoping Magic could work with Ben Simmons.”— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) February 11, 2019
This tampering nonsense is out of control. Ben Simmons should be allowed to talk with Magic fricking Johnson if he wants to.— Robin Lundberg (@robinlundberg) February 11, 2019
BEN SIMMONS CAN MEET WITH MAGIC THE SECOND HE SIGNS HIS EXTENSION WITH THE SIXERS— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) February 11, 2019
Philly fan: Ben Simmons is the next Magic Johnson!— Andrew Porter (@And_Porter) February 11, 2019
Philly fan 6 months later: Trade Ben, he can't shoot
Philly fan 6 months later: Do not let Ben workout with Magic Johnson
— with New York Post
Originally published as 76ers shut down Simmons-Magic trick