Lacob & Morey Play Chicken with Big Ben’s Future

Updated: September 23, 2021
joey pockets

Considering the man is one of the wealthiest people in the Bay, a 50,000 dollar fine for Golden State Warrior’s owner Joe Lacob probably isn’t a loss he’s losing sleep over. Light Years Lacob was hit today with tampering charges for his recent comments in The San Francisco Chronicle about a certain “Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Philadelphia,” who he failed to identify by name, yet even the most casual NBA fan with a Twitter account knew exactly who he was referring to. Ironically, Philadelphia is the one team in basketball that has two DPOY candidates in Simmons and Embiid, but the full quote in The Chronicle was so transparent, there was little wiggle room for commissioner Adam Silver.

“In some ways, it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know…he’s very talented. The problem is, we have Draymond. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”

What the comments imply is the discussions between the Warriors and Sixers are essentially done. Especially after it has been reported last week that Golden State has yet to receive any realistic trade offers from Philly, these comments from Warriors’ ownership should represent the nail in the coffin of the possible pairing of Curry, Klay, and Simmons, right? Well, it would be safe to assume this except for the fact that contrasting reports this week have stated that Golden State’s front office is “closely monitoring the Simmons situation.” 

It is an improbability that Joe Lacob went on record with an official local news source and didn’t expect to be fined by the league. In fact, we should assume that he was betting on it. As transparent as Daryl Morey has been trying to boost Simmon’s stock by offering wild trade offers across the league, it seems that Golden State has decided to follow suit with market manipulation, except Lacob’s comments are not only an attempt of tipping the scale for a trade, they are an open act of warfare. 

It is now on record from a respected front office that not only is Ben Simmons a difficult fit on any roster due to his inability to shoot, but the question on every GM’s mind in regards to a Simmons exchange is, “He makes a lot of money…and, can he finish games? I don’t know…”

Even though all other 28 teams in the league know exactly what Lacob’s intentions are with these shots fired, there is a subconscious seed being planted that has an unavoidable effect. Psychoanalytical philosopher Slavoj Žižek, has a theory stating that anything introduced into the political Real is an event in itself…the ideological framework of the established paradigms cannot help but be influenced by publicly spoken or printed ideas…even if those concepts were already widely assumed behind closed doors.

It cost 50,000 dollars for Lacob to directly deter other teams from trading a premium package for Ben Simmons. And it wasn’t a particularly difficult task, considering the entire league is already in a state of hesitation after the passed-up dunk in the 4th quarter of game 7 in the last game of the Sixers’ season. Now, Lacob and Bob Myers are establishing a framework of an exchange that does not include Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody. It is quite clear that they are already infatuated with the upside of the pair of lottery picks just selected, especially the still growing forward from the Congo who looks like he might end up being the steal of the draft at 7. 

If Minnesota is not willing to add DLO into a Simmons exchange, and Dame Lillard remains off-limits in Portland, there is a world where the season starts, and Draymond or Wiggins plus 3 picks is the absolute best package available. It is clearly a trade package that Daryl and the Philly front office have no intention of taking at this moment, but they are on the clock with the looming event and absent Ben Simmons from 76ers’ press day and training camp. 

It is not hard to imagine 3 weeks from now when the pot is on the verge of boiling in Philly, the conversation with Bob Myers when he asks the question that Morey simply will have no good answer to:

“Can you name a better rookie contract outside of Kuminga or Wisemen that you can fetch on trade block today? So why am I the one attaching draft picks alongside 20-point a game Andrew Wiggins?”

As blasphemous as this statement would’ve been last year, is it really that unimaginable that after the playoffs, Wiggins solidifies himself as a better post-season rotation piece than Ben Simmons who was sat in crunch time late in games due to his unwillingness to take a single shot through five 4th quarters?

Wiggins’ value is severely diminished due to the fact he is paid like a first or second option and he clearly does not have the alpha mentality to fill such a role. However, after establishing himself as a clear-cut plus-defender and averaging 18 in his sleep, if Wiggins was making 15 million, he’d be one of the most desired wings in the league. His 30 million is problematic, however in an exchange for a player in Simmons who is in the exact same situation, why are the Warriors sending Wiggins + Kuminga + Moody + picks? It is a fictional package that Morey and the 76ers should probably remove their attachment from after these recent statements.

It is quite ironic though because, before the draft, Philly could have gotten Wiggins and the two lottery picks with ease and might have been able to get an additional pick or Eric Pascal added in as a sweetener. Unfortunately, for Philadelphia, Moody and Kuminga have been rare lottery picks that have gained value post-draft. For the Warriors, they’re playing with house money. They like their roster and all the flexibility moving forward. Half of the staff is infatuated with what Simmons would look like replacing Draymond as the passing turret that connects the Splash Brothers, however, everyone on the Warriors staff knows moving off Dray is a gamble and the Warriors are substantially higher on Wiggins than the majority of the league’s perception of him. Especially since the precedent has already been set that all Tier 2 wings are receiving max contract extensions, Wiggins’ contract each year is becoming more and more normalized.

Simmons on the other hand is a specialty item. His value is engrained in his upside, not his current on-court impact. As a regular season weapon, he is a pure-bred monster and one of the few players in basketball that can be described as Lebron-Like. However, if he has just one more burnout in the playoffs, not only will his perceived value never recover, the psychological scars will be too deep for the 6’10 Aussie to handle.  

There have been very few players in NBA history to so effortlessly become a #1 pick overall and shortly after become a perennial All-Star. Unfortunately for Ben, with such obvious athleticism and God-given talent, the repercussions for failure that come with it match the expectations for success. Everything is a blessing and a curse…but for Morey and the 76ers, the asset known as Ben Simmons they’re trying to sell no longer exists. If that wasn’t clear already, Joe Lacob paid the fee of 50 thousand dollars to put it down on wax. 

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to toolbar