Jun 22, 2021

Just say no to Ben Simmons and the Bulls

Just say no to Ben Simmons and the Bulls

Good morning, frents!

Two quick housekeeping items to pass along:

  1. This month's members mailbag is coming up, so respond to this email with questions you'd like answered.
  2. I had a great call yesterday afternoon for the first Midway Minute community event, which I'm planning for mid-August. More details to come as they become finalized but man am I looking forward to actually getting together with some of you in the near future.

OK, let's get on with it.

Monday's result
Indians 4, Cubs 0

Today's schedule
Sky at Liberty (6, Prime, The U)
Sox at Pirates (6:05, NBCSCH)
Indians at Cubs (7:05, Marquee)
Red Stars at OL Reign (9, Twitch)

Just say no to Ben Simmons

There may come a point in time you actually talk yourself into Ben Simmons and the Bulls. It's a long offseason, the franchise has needs and Simmons will dominate conversation until Philly exiles him.

To that impulse, I would offer only this:

Don't do it!

I mean, seriously, don't even think about it.

I get why you might try.  Heck, even I did while considering a contrarian take for this newsletter. Simmons is a former No. 1 overall pick and he still has the 6-foot-11 frame that gives him the chance to be a true gamechanger. He's still just 24 years old and Good Morning It's Basketball's Tom Ziller — who I trust more on the NBA than just about anybody — thinks Simmons can flourish somewhere else.

Simmons' coach, meanwhile, just publicly doubted his potential in the wake of the 76ers' loss to Atlanta and his co-star seems done with him. Simmons is a depreciated asset at the moment and buying low is one sure path to riches.

But are we even sure Simmons can be had for a cheapish price?

The Sixers wouldn't seem to have much leverage as angry fans are stomping on his jersey outside the arena and the Joel Embiid marriage no longer seems tenable.

Yet the first national perspective I read on a possible Simmons departure had the Sixers sending him to the Bulls for ... Zach LaVine.

Which, no.

To me, any case you can make for Simmons to the Bulls is built around adding his defensive talents and ball skills to two offense-first stars who'd thrive with a top-flight facilitator.

Bringing in Simmons as a bedrock with plenty of questions while saying goodbye to a star in LaVine who's already worked hard to answer many of his biggest shortcomings doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The Bulls obviously need a point guard, but not at the expense of losing a player that point guard needs to help.

Do the Bulls have anyone else the Sixers would be interested in?

The Sixers understandably will want to get as much as they can for Simmons. The window on The Process is fast closing and they've already wasted too many of Joel Embiid's prime years.

A sign-and-trade deal involving Lauri Markkanen is palatable for anyone with a 312 area code and involving Coby White wouldn't force too many tears either. Philadelphia insisting on Patrick Williams being included would cause a little more hesitation, but it'd be a price worth paying if you thought a change of scenery is the only thing that Simmons needs.

But I'm just not there. Simmons had it as good as possible in Philadelphia with a first-team all-NBA teammate and a supporting cast that made the team a top seed in the East. He was still never able to find time to add anything resembling a passable jumper or show any interest in improving his offensive production.

Simmons instead set out on a path to become a specialist and an expensive one at that as he's owed $140 million over the next four years.

After seeing Simmons' stripes, do you really want the Bulls to make the playoffs and then go through the same hair-pulling series that Sixers fans just did?

Let someone else roll the dice.


The Bulls have had three Australian-born players not named Luc Longley play for them. How many can you name?


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News and results

Indians 4, Cubs 0: One to forget

I made it out to Wrigley for this one and it'll go into my memory bank as "The One Where Javy Baez lost track of outs and got benched."

  • Baez's mistake in the fourth wasn't a great look for a team that's dropped six of its last eight (though remains in first thanks to a similar swoon from Milwaukee). It also created one of the first truly fascinating calls of David Ross' managerial tenure as he was put into a position to discipline one of his World Series teammates from 2016. Both men, though, handled it pretty well and the issue already seems over and done with after Ross said he had "a good conversation" with his shortstop.
  • Said Baez: "I blame it on myself. I lost the count of the outs, We talked about it. We are on the same page, and I'll be there tomorrow to help the team."
  • The Indians took another blow to their pitching staff as 10-win Aaron Civale left with two outs in the fifth with an injured finger. The win, though, moved them to just two games behind the Sox in the AL Central.
  • One other observation: It was interesting to see the umps ratchet up their inspection of pitchers for illegal substances after the completion of innings. I have no idea how long this performance theater will last, but at least I can say I was there when it began.

Next: Kyle Hendricks (9-4, 4.13) finishes the two-game set against rookie Eli Morgan (0-1, 12.79).

  1. Just your everyday story of a former World Series MVP suing his ex-pastor for allegedly defrauding the player's charity while also conducting an affair with the player's wife. Sun-Times
  2. "You're sticking with that m---------r?" Are the Bears the team that Tom Brady called out for passing on him? Bleacher Nation
  3. One Vikings blogger thinks his team should trade for Nick Foles. Sure! The Viking Age
  4. Dan Pompei on the next generation of Hesters. The Athletic
  5. Jim Margalus on Eduardo Escobar, the D-backs second baseman the Sox are reportedly interested in acquiring. Sox Machine

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Trivia answer: Chris Antsey (1999-00), Luke Schenser (2005-06) and Cameron Bairstow (2014-2016)

Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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