Before sending Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors this offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers came calling. But it looks like the Spurs wanted a little more than Philly was willing to part with.
Like Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe broke down the rumors on a recent episode of the Lowe Post podcast.
“…There is no evidence that the Spurs wanted Fultz. I’ve been told the Spurs never asked for Fultz, and actively didn’t want Fultz, and in fact wanted one of the two big guys.”
It makes sense that they would prefer Simmons or Embiid over Fultz. Even if Fultz is a very recent No. 1 overall draft pick. When healthy, Simmons and Embiid are franchise cornerstones. And the Sixers have both of them. There’s no reason, short of getting multiple draft picks WITH a player under team control for more than one season, that they would want to move either player.
Last season, Simmons put up 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game over 81 games. Embiid put up 22.9 points, 11 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game while playing in 63 games. The Sixers finished 52-30, good enough for third out East. They rode that record all the way to the Eastern Conference semi-final, ultimately falling in five games to the Boston Celtics. Health permitting, they should battle for the No. 1 seed out East.
As for the Spurs, they finished 47-35 — only good enough for seventh out West. But they did that despite only having Kawhi Leonard for nine games. Now with DeMar DeRozan in town, maybe they can crack the top four. We’ll see. But getting Simmons or Embiid? That was always going to be a tall order.
Though, we don’t blame the Spurs for trying. Not one bit.