Before the 2016 NBA Draft lottery's ping pong balls had even started spinning in their machine to determine the draft order, there were rumors that Ben Simmons was attempting to force his way to Los Angeles Lakers. The reason? A better shoe deal being made possible by the Los Angeles market.
The Lakers ended up with the second overall pick in the draft, meaning that if that initial report was accurate, that Simmons would only have to get past the Philadelphia 76ers if he truly wanted to end up in purple and gold. However, his eagerness to do so may have been initially overstated, as Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia reports that he "was told by a source close to Ben Simmons' camp, before the lottery, that they have no issue with the market in Philadelphia."
Oluc additionally notes that the same source informed him that "lottery implications had nothing to do with Simmons holding off on shoe deal signing." That's good news for the Sixers, who are reportedly "leaning heavily toward" selecting Simmons first overall in the draft next month.
It's hard to know what to make of these anonymously sourced reports sometimes. Maybe Simmons' camp was worried about a smaller market jumping up to the first or second overall pick and hurting the value of his eventual shoe deal. Maybe different members of Simmons' murkily-defined "camp" have differing opinions about what he wants or doesn't want. We ultimately don't know and just have to hope reporters are providing accurate information.
It's also important to remember that Simmons has very little control over where he ends up. Whether he wants to play in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or the 1996 Chicago Bulls is ultimately unimportant, because if Simmons wants to play in the NBA he will have to do it for the team that drafts him.
However, this report does reveal that Simmons will likely be happy with either the Lakers or the Sixers, which is surely welcome information for both of those teams and their fans.
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