NBA training camps open Sept. 28 and the biggest story across the league continues to be the fate of Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers, or more importantly for Minnesota fans, what Simmons' fate could mean for the Timberwolves.
Simmons, who in August reportedly requested to be traded, "will not report" to training camp next week and "intends to never play another game for the franchise," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The report adds that Simmons "appears willing" to pay any fines he incurs while sitting out in an attempt to force a trade.
The situation has effectively become a staring contest between Simmons and 76ers GM Daryl Morey. Who will blink first? Keith Pompey, who covers the 76ers for The Philadelphia Inquirer, said on his podcast last week that he's not sure if the relationship between the Sixers and Simmons can be repaired.
Pompey believes the best-case scenario for all parties is to trade Simmons before camp begins, but The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski doesn't see it playing out that way.
"The Wolves really want him, so that makes their pursuit — ideally, with a third team involved — worth examining and taking seriously. If a deal were to happen, I do not see it coming before training camp begins," Krawczynski wrote Sept. 14.
As Krawczynski said, the Wolves could really use a third team to spice up a trade package nice enough to get Morey to bite. Minnesota doesn't have a star player on the block to give the Sixers what they need to remain relevant in a conference led by defending champion Milwaukee and the loaded Brooklyn Nets.
So without a third team, Minnesota's best shot at getting Simmons might be Morey waiving a white flag and parting with Simmons to avoid the distractions, all while still getting a decent haul of players (maybe led by Jaden McDaniels and Malik Beasley) and unprotected first-round picks from the Wolves.
"I don't know that there is a super easy, clean deal that the Wolves have to make," said Krawczynski on Zach Lowe's podcast on Tuesday. "They need Daryl Morey's price to come down a little bit."
Whatever happens, it's about to get a lot louder when camp starts next week.