Ben Simmons, the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft, will meet Philadelphia 76ers in the coming days, according to team general manager Bryan Colangelo.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of chatter that Simmons would avoid pre-draft workouts and interviews with the Sixers in order to force his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, who own the #2 pick in the forthcoming NBA Draft.
Ben Simmons wants to be a Laker?
Colangelo dispelled those rumors in an interview with SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio’s NBA Sunday Tip. “Some people like to poison the well. We’ve got good relationships with the agent (Rich Paul) and with the family because (coach) Brett Brown has known Ben Simmons’ father for years.”
A week before the NBA Draft Lottery, The Vertical reported that Simmons’ camp was hoping he’d land with Los Angeles because of large sums of endorsement money on the table. Also, Simmons grew up a diehard Lakers fan and posted a snapchat video in which he told a fan to “catch me on the Lakers next year.”
Colangelo said that the Sixers were determined to change the public perception of the franchise especially in the aftermath of the Sam Hinke era. With Hinkie at the helm of the organization, the team had openly advocating “tanking” in order to collect lottery picks for multiple years.
Sixers done with tanking
“We’ve got good young, developing players, but we don’t have a star where we can say a bona fide star has made it. We are still looking for that first one—if that comes in the form of the first pick in this draft, if that comes in the form of a player we acquire via trade or free agency.”
Colangelo said the team was done collecting assets and want to encourage a winning culture. “Everybody is thinking about winning, as opposed to prolonging the rebuilding process. We’re really moving from that rebuilding and stripping down to a building process. We’re going to do things that put us in a position to win basketball games more so than collect future assets.”
According to a league source, Ben Simmons will meet with the Lakers and the Sixers in the coming days before scheduling private workouts with both teams. The NBA Draft is on June 23.