It was reported on Wednesday afternoon by The Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey that Ben Simmons will not be reporting to the 76ers' training camp, and currently prefers a trade to California. The report indicated that a Western Conference executive said three California teams were specifically on Ben Simmons' radar; however, it was not specified which three he was specifically targeting.
A simple analysis of the current situations that each California team finds themselves in, allowed fans and analysts to take their guesses on which three teams Ben Simmons prefers a trade to. With the Golden State Warriors and their trade assets coming in atop most people's lists, the Sacramento Kings were often suspected as another realistic option.
The Ben Simmons to Sacramento speculation took a hit this afternoon when Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that "Ben Simmons won't be Sacramento-bound anytime soon - if ever." The asking price of Philadelphia is currently too far off from what the Kings are willing to offer, which has eliminated the possibility of any real trade discussions.
With the Kings likely out on Simmons, this narrows down his list of potential California destinations if the 76ers are indeed interested in granting him that request. It is fairly undeniable that the Golden State Warriors can construct a package that out-rivals arguably the rest of the league, but certainly their California counterparts; however, it is currently unclear whether or not the Warriors are even interested in Simmons.
If the Warriors refuse to pull the trigger on a Ben Simmons deal, this leaves the Clippers and the Lakers as the lone two California teams remaining. Neither team has any cap flexibility to work with, so both would need to send out at least $37M in salary in order to make a deal for Simmons work financially.
The Clippers could do this with a package of Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, and any of their newly drafted rookies; however, they do not possess hardly any trade-able draft picks that would be of any interest to Philly. If the 76ers were to show interest in the Clippers' offer of Bledsoe, Kennard, and a combination of rookies, it is almost certain that another team would easily outbid that offer.
If the Clippers were really intent on making a deal for Simmons happen, they could replace their lack of draft picks by including Terance Mann in a deal; however, this does not seem like a wise decision, considering Mann has shown flashes of star potential and is set to make only $1.7M next season.
If none of the aforementioned California teams are able to swing a deal for Ben Simmons, this leaves the Los Angeles Lakers as the final option. With the Lakers recently trading for Russell Westbrook, it seems nearly impossible for them to also add Simmons. For both financial and logistical reasons, a Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook pairing almost certainly will not happen.
It is still unclear whether the 76ers are even interested in granting Simmons' request of being dealt to California, but each team on the golden coast has some complicated decisions ahead of them if they indeed want to pursue the 3x All-Star.