That’s according to NBA insider Chris Mannix.
The Lakers lost by 23 points to the 76ers in Philadelphia on Sunday and Simmons had just eight points on three-of-13 shooting, although earned attention for attempting a rare three-pointer – with his lack of shooting beyond the arc often criticised – and also added seven assists.
But before the game, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic revealed that 22-year-old Simmons had contacted his organisation to discuss the potential of the two working together in the offseason.
Magic is rightly regarded as one of the best NBA players of all time and won five championships with the Lakers, being named Finals MVP on three occasions, across a glittering 13-season career.
Johnson was a point guard despite being 6ft 9ins, while Simmons – who stands 6ft 10ins and weighs 230lbs – is also noticeably larger than the other players in the league to play the same position.
But Magic’s comments – which come after tampering allegations were made about the Lakers and their pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis – quickly led to suggestions that Los Angeles are looking to make an early impression on Simmons.
The Australian can sign a five-year maximum contract extension with the Sixers this summer but shares the same representation as Davis and LeBron in Klutch Sports Group and Rich Paul and could end up deciding he wants to move elsewhere, given he can become a restricted free agent in 2020.
Lakers leader LeBron has made it clear he is a fan of Simmons and he traded Russell Westbrook for the second-year guard with All-Star rival Giannis Antetokounmpo after the two captains picked their rosters in the draft last week.
And Magic revealed before the Lakers’ loss at Wells Fargo Center: “He reached out to me, not to me directly, to the Lakers to find out if we could get together this summer. I said, ‘Hey you have to clear it with the league.’
“Everybody, the Sixers sign off, we sign off, the league sign off that there’s not nothing going on, but he wants to know how to play the position as a big guard.
“That’s fine, I will do that. But if everybody doesn’t sign off, then we can’t get together.”
“But I love his game, I love his vision, I love also too, he’s very, in terms of basketball IQ, very high basketball IQ. Look at him now, the East better watch out.”
But Mannix believes Magic has helped put the Sixers into a tricky predicament because it could allow the two to build an understanding with one another.
He tweeted: “Regardless of the purity of Magic’s intentions, this will undoubtedly infuriate people Sixers front office — who will be put in an impossible position.
“Deny Simmons the chance to work w/all-time great, and irk Simmons. Allow it, and let the Lakers prez build a relationship w/him.”
The Lakers failed to land Davis before the trade deadline and have said publicly that they will move on to alternative targets, with their eyes currently thought to be on landing a big-name free agent from a packed 2019 class.
But they could also look to trade for Simmons in the coming years – although Philadelphia would demand a huge package in return given their desire to build around the rising star.
The Sixers recently added Tobias Harris alongside him, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler, who is one of the marquee talents who could become a free agent in the summer.
Yet Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre said last month that he believes Simmons is desperate to go to L.A.
“Sixers, people crushed me when I said Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were low-key Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant [at the Oklahoma City Thunder],” McIntyre told Scoop B Radio.
“They’re friends on the court but they don’t hang off the court.
“People killed me when I said that. I’m telling you, I don’t see this being a long-term thing.
“We know dating back to before the draft, Ben Simmons loves L.A.
“Dating Kendall Jenner, loves it out here, he’s on that same agency that LeBron is repped by, Klutch [Sports].
“I think Ben Simmons wants to be in LA badly. We’ll see what happens.”