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NBA news: Shock Lakers and Clippers trade claim made about Ben Simmons | Other | Sport

That’s the verdict of Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre.

Simmons was almost paired with LeBron James this season in Philadelphia but the 34-year-old chose to go to LA instead.

But the Sixers are a strong force in the Eastern Conference still, with cornerstone talents Simmons and Joel Embiid recently joined by Jimmy Butler – although the four-time All-Star’s presence has apparently created off-court drama.

Simmons is in just his second season in the NBA but the Australian was named Rookie of the Year last season and has continued his fine form this time around.

The 22-year-old guard/forward is seeking to make the All-Star team and has averaged 16.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game thus far.

He enjoyed a monstrous 20-point, 22-rebound, nine-assist night as Philadelphia beat the New York Knicks 108-105 last night.

But McIntyre believes that Simmons is craving a move to southern California and thinks his relationship with Embiid could play a part in an eventual departure.

“Sixers, people crushed me when I said Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were low-key Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant [at the Oklahoma City Thunder],” McIntyre told Scoop B Radio

“They’re friends on the court but they don’t hang off the court. 

“People killed me when I said that. I’m telling you, I don’t see this being a long-term thing. 

“We know dating back to before the draft, Ben Simmons loves LA. 

“Dating Kendall Jenner, loves it out here, he’s on that same agency that LeBron is repped by, Klutch [Sports]. 

“I think Ben Simmons wants to be in LA badly. We’ll see what happens.”

With Butler due a max-contract extension in the summer and Embiid a much-loved figure at the Sixers, Simmons certainly appears the most likely blue-chip trade piece if Philadelphia want to bring in another player that suits their other two stars.

The Lakers and the Clippers are both seeking to add more elite-level talents to their team with the Lakers keen to surround LeBron with more All-Stars to strengthen their championship chances.

The Clippers, meanwhile, have the cap space for two max contract players in free agency this summer – with Doc Rivers’ team already impressing in the West even without any superstars – and could look to trade for more talent beyond that.

Simmons is still on his rookie contract and is locked into the Sixers for next season. He will be eligible for a five-year extension in July 2019.

He will become a restricted free agent next summer with only Philly able to offer him a max deal and other teams across the NBA forced to offer lower deals.

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