The Philadelphia 76ers have won the NBA lottery No. 1 choice in the 2016 NBA Draft on Tuesday, but NBA rumors are already starting that top prospect Ben Simmons could hold out and demand a trade if he’s selected by the lowly Philadelphia franchise.
Projected to be an NBA superstar and compared to LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Simmons could force his way to a big market team like the Los Angeles Lakers, where he is expected to gain more endorsements and huge off-court sponsorship deals.
Simmons is an Australian forward who played for the Louisiana State University for a year in college basketball. At 6-foot-10, comparison to LeBron James is not surprising as he can develop to a versatile player like the Cavaliers superstar in the pro league.
The 19-year-old prospect is from Melbourne, Australia and is projected by many experts to be the top pick in the draft and become the second Australian to be drafted first overall after Andrew Bogut was picked No. 1 in the 2005 NBA Draft. Kyrie Irving was picked first overall in the 2011 draft, but he has represented the United States more even though he has Australian lineage.
The Philadelphia 76ers could choose to draft another top prospect in Brandon Ingram to avoid a situation where Simmons will force them to do a trade to Los Angeles. NBA rumors and projections have Simmons and Ingram going No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Ben Simmons’ possibly forcing his way to Los Angeles is not new in the NBA. In the 1996 NBA Draft, Kobe Bryant reportedly forced his way out of the Charlotte Hornets, who drafted the eventual Lakers superstar as the 13th overall pick in the draft that year. The Hornets traded Bryant to Los Angeles, where he won five championships before retiring this season.
Another case of a player forcing his way to another team is Steve Francis, who was drafted second overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies, which traded him to the Houston Rockets the same year.
The 2016 NBA Draft is set this June and teams will start scouting their prospects. With NBA rumors that Simmons might prefer going to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers might have no choice but to draft Brandon Ingram in the rookie draft.
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