Elton Brand: I Rejected Idea of Lakers’ Magic Johnson Meeting with Ben Simmons

Elton Brand: I Rejected Idea of Lakers’ Magic Johnson Meeting with Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, of Australia, in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 143-120. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand said he already shut down any possibility of star point guard Ben Simmons picking the brain of NBA Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Lakers team president Magic Johnson during this offseason.

“Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben (Simmons) wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season, Magic was on the list,” Brand told 97.5 The Fanatic. “He asked for authorization… I said no. This was over a month ago.”

On Sunday, Johnson revealed Simmons wanted to pick his brain on some trade secrets about being a big point guard, per Marc Stein of the New York Times:

Johnson also praised Simmons’ game:

If it felt like Johnson was dancing around some tampering infractions, Brand’s stance on Simmons not speaking with Johnson shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Sure, from a purely basketball standpoint, Simmons should want to talk to an NBA legend like Johnson. But from a business standpoint, the Sixers are justified in not wanting one of their players to talk basketball with another team’s executive, especially one who has already committed tampering on more than one occasion in the past.

The Lakers were also all but accused of tampering by the New Orleans Pelicans after Anthony Davis demanded a trade this season. The precedent for the Lakers tampering, as the organization looks to pair LeBron James with a superstar, has been set.

Yes, Simmons will likely remain in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future and is eligible to sign a major extension this summer. But as the Davis situation showed, players aren’t afraid to make a push to leave an organization, and Los Angeles has always been a destination organization. 

Johnson may claim he only wants to offer Simmons advice, but history suggests he’d probably have a hard time not making a sales pitch, too.

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