Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons wanted to sit down with Magic Johnson to discuss being a big point guard in the NBA, but Sixers general manager Elton Brand said he nixed that idea. And although Brand said he considers the case closed, the NBA is investigating.
“The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
When Brand was interviewed on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Monday, the conversation about the 76ers and their post-trade deadline lineup took a turn toward a potential meeting between the Lakers legend and Simmons.
Johnson, the Lakers team president, said Sunday that Simmons had contacted him about potentially meeting in the offseason. Johnson told reporters they couldn’t talk “if everybody doesn’t sign off.”
Brand said his Lakers counterpart, Rob Pelinka, contacted him about a month ago about the idea.
“Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season. Magic was on the list,” Brand said during the interview. “He asked for authorization, I said no. This was over a month ago.”
The Lakers have been fined twice by the NBA for tampering since Johnson has been in charge. And although there has been no talk of the Lakers pursuing Simmons – he doesn’t become a restricted free agent until 2020 – eyes could be raised if he and Johnson got together.
The 22-year-old Simmons is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. He represents both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers tried to acquire before the trade deadline last week.
Brand reiterated to Wojnarowski that he is not worried the Lakers are trying to snatch his young star.
“No issue. I have a great relationship with Ben and Rich (Paul) and we expect him to be a Sixer for a long time,” Brand said. “He has taken interest in chatting with some of the game’s all-time greats and we’re supportive. I had brief dialog with Rob Pelinka who I’ve known for a long time, but nothing is planned. Our collective focus is on making a postseason push. Again, we’re not sweating this, end of story.”
— Field Level Media