Minnesota Timberwolves dodged a bullet in avoiding Ben Simmons saga

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Minnesota Timberwolves were once hotly rumored to be very interested in acquiring Ben Simmons via trade.  At the time, the argument went, he made sense on almost every level on the current roster. The problem was that there was a lot of uncertainty with the young man both on and off the basketball court. And nobody could answer the most basic of questions:

  1. Had Ben Simmons given up on playing for the Philadelphia 76ers?
  2. Or had Ben Simmons given up on playing professional basketball in the NBA altogether?

PG/PF Ben Simmons, some argued, would give the Timberwolves one of the best passers and defenders in the NBA. The half-court offense is a bit rough around the edges for Simmons, but his fit alongside C Karl-Anthony Towns and SG Anthony Edwards would be seamless. He would have a far better chance to ease back from whatever dark places his physical and behavioral challenges had taken him.

A new start, a fresh outlook on professional basketball, and a chance to start over from the urban pressure of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the less spotlight-friendly confines of Target Center, and the far more hospitable crowd that cheered the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ah, but that was all before the 76ers did indeed trade Simmons.

More. Minnesota Timberwolves: Top 30 greatest players of all-time. light

The stickler for any trades fell back to that basic but very unanswered question. How much did Simmons have left in this tank? Was it merely a change of scenery that would reignite his passion for basketball? Or was something far more amiss going on? Struggles on the court in the previous playoffs were amplified almost by the day with more and more media scrutiny. No answers resulted, just more questions. Was this simply a Markelle Fultz sequel? Many seemed to believe so, or so it would seem with a stream of proposed trade scenarios that surfaced.