Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers’ non-traditionally large point guard, is serious about getting better. He wants to talk to Hall of Famers to try and improve his game, and one of the first names on his list was Magic Johnson. It makes tons of sense — Johnson was a similarly sized point guard, and has a lot to teach a young player like Simmons. Plus, Simmons has already reached out to the Los Angeles Lakers to start the wheels in motion.
But Johnson is also the president of the Lakers, which means any meeting between the two would have to be approved by the Lakers, the Sixers, and the NBA. And Sixers GM Elton Brand has already put the kibosh on any meeting between Johnson and Simmons, which he revealed during a Monday morning call to local Philadelphia sports talk station 97.5 The Fanatic.
"Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben (Simmons) wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season, Magic was on the list. He asked for authorization… I said no. This was over a month ago." – Elton Brand shooting down the Ben/Magic meeting 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) February 11, 2019
You can understand why Brand wouldn’t want this meeting to go down. Johnson is a Hall of Fame player, but he’s also the Sixers’ competition. Plus, Simmons happens to be represented by Klutch Sports, which also represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While a meeting between Johnson and Simmons would ostensibly be about Simmons’ game only, why even give Johnson (or anyone) the chance to try and persuade Simmons to sign with the Lakers in a few years.
Because of that, the league is now getting involved. The NBA will look into whether any contact between Simmons and the Lakers violated NBA rules, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass tells ESPN: “The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
The Lakers put out their own release, clarifying exactly what happened with Simmons.
Statement from the Lakers on the Magic Johnson/Ben Simmons intrigue: pic.twitter.com/pSiEQ0u6hD
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 11, 2019
Brand is just trying to protect his team and his players, but it’s still a shame that Simmons can’t spend some time with Johnson. Maybe Magic could share tips via text? Or an old fashioned pen-and-paper letter? Perhaps they could exchange messages through carrier pigeon!
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