Report: Rockets could be interested in joining Ben Simmons trade as facilitator

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On Friday’s episode of the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon said the Houston Rockets likely have interest in joining a multi-team Ben Simmons trade — but primarily as a facilitator. Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star, has yet to play for Philadelphia this season and has sought a trade since last offseason.

The conversation begins with Windhorst citing rumors around the league that Daryl Morey, currently president of basketball operations with the 76ers and previously general manager of the Rockets, could try to work a multi-team deal for Simmons with three top decision-makers who used to work for him: Minnesota’s Sachin Gupta, Sacramento’s Monte McNair, and Houston general manager Rafael Stone.

Windhorst cites the Timberwolves and potentially the Kings as interested suitors for Simmons, who has a deal averaging more than $35 million per season through 2024-25. But given the complexity of matching salaries at a figure that high — NBA teams who are over the salary cap, which during the season is nearly the entire league, must send out close to as much money in trades as they take in — it might require a third- or even fourth-team facilitator to make the money work in a potential trade.

Windhorst: There’s been a number of rumors that have gone around the league in the last few weeks about Ben Simmons trade involving the Morey quarangular. That would be Philadelphia, Minnesota, the Kings, and the Rockets. … Let’s just say there has been a lot of discussion.

I’ve had executives tell me that when Ben Simmons gets traded, it will include one or more of the quadrangular. Not that that’s where Ben Simmons would go, but they would probably be involved, because a Ben Simmons trade likely ends up being a multi-team deal.

MacMahon: The Rockets have been much better lately, but they get ‘Hey, this is very early in a rebuild.’ So they’re trying to wedge their way in and get ammo for a rebuild, for sure.

The Rockets do some mid-tier veteran salaries — such as Daniel Theis, DJ Augustin, David Nwaba, and Danuel House Jr. — that may prove useful for salary matching purposes. Eric Gordon could also be available, since he turns 33 on Christmas. However, Houston would understandably have a higher asking price there, given Gordon’s strong level of production.

The trade deadline for the 2021-22 NBA season is Feb. 10, 2022, so it’s possible that discussions could drag on for many more weeks.

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List

Houston Rockets player salaries for 2021-22, future seasons