Johnathan Simmons is one of the best rags to riches stories in the NBA in quite some time. He went from a player spending his own money to participate in a D-League (or G-League these days) tryout to averaging 15 points per game in the western conference finals for the San Antonio Spurs in a couple of years.
Simmons, 27, has made himself into a gifted two-way player with great slashing ability, high-energy and even the ability to be a tertiary ball handler as he was for the Spurs last season.
Many expected the Spurs to prioritize bringing him back this off-season and pay him in the $7 million to $10 million range per season, but with them being over the cap already and apparently unable to come to terms, the Spurs decided to save a little cap and rescind his cap hold and qualifying offer to make him an unrestricted free agent.
According to a report from the San Antonio Express News on Thursday, before renouncing his rights, the Spurs were on the presuppose of agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns to send Simmons to Phoenix in exchange for Tyson Chandler.
— The Solar Panel ?? (@SunsSolarPanel) July 13, 2017
While it is understandable that the Spurs were weary of adding $13 million to their salary for the next two seasons as a team already above the tax line, this trade would have made perfect sense for both teams.
Chandler would have filled a sorely needed role as a rim protector and proven leader and winner for a contending Spurs team, and the Suns would free Chandler from their rebuild and acquire another athletic, two-way player to improve on the defensive end.
Now that Simmons is a free agent on a drying up free agent market, it will be interesting to see if the Suns end up signing Simmons and for what amount.
The Spurs seem to be falling out of contention with an inactive summer, let’s see if Popovich can work his magic and lead the Spurs to 55 to 60 wins in the western conference once again.