As the Philadelphia 76ers continue to pick up the pieces following a bad Game 7 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks in Round 2 of the playoffs, there is not a lot the team can do to bring in players from the outside to improve the roster.
They do not have much money to play with in free agency and the only two ways the Sixers can improve the roster is either through internal improvement or they make a big trade. That big trade is probably going to be centered around one of their All-Stars, Ben Simmons.
Simmons did not have a good postseason as he shot just 34.2% from the foul line and he came up small when the lights got bright in Game 7. This is not the first time it has happened and the Sixers might want to consider moving on from the talented, yet maddening, guard.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks hopped on “The Lowe Post” podcast to discuss some potential Simmons deals and now is the time to break down the deals and figure out which one fits:
Ben Simmons to the Kings
This one is interesting, but it’s tough to see how it would work out. Sacramento is not going to just give up De’Aaron Fox for Simmons after a pretty productive season for their young guard. Marks and Lowe suggested this deal:
Marks: Sacramento. You can take Buddy Hield and Martin Bagley. There you go. Lowe: Sac’s not a bad one. I think a lot of these teams would be like, well we have De’Aaron Fox.
It would be confusing to see Philadelphia send Simmons to the Kings for Hield and Bagley. While Bagley would fill a huge need as a backup power forward and provide size off the bench, Hield is not what the Sixers need at the moment. They need shot creation from the perimeter, not another spot-up shooter. While Hield has some ability to create his own look, it is not enough to justify this deal.
Simmons to the Trail Blazers
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While it will be tough for the Sixers to pry away Damian Lillard, why not C.J. McCollum? Marks said:
Marks: The one that we’re probably gonna hear is Portland, right? I mean that’s probably the flavor of the day with McCollum, but that’s a matter of whoever they hire in Portland, does that fit their style? The salaries match, so that’s the easy one but, for Portland, I mean I guess it’s a change of scenery when you’re moving away from C.J. and you’re bringing back Ben.
The podcast was recorded before Portland hired Chauncey Billups as their head coach so maybe things change around the franchise. On paper, a Simmons for McCollum deal is not horrible. Simmons helps Portland on the defensive end of the floor while McCollum gives Philadelphia that badly needed shot creation, but then the Sixers would probably have to rely on young Tyrese Maxey to really handle the ball consistently.
Simmons to the Bulls
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This one is going to pique the interest of fans just because of the potential of pairing Zach LaVine with Joel Embiid. Marks and Lowe:
Marks: I don’t necessarily see a way to get Ben Simmons to Chicago, without putting Zach LaVine in the deal, because Patrick Williams and all your young assets, those are cool, they don’t do anything for Joel Embiid’s life right now. On the flip side, it’s similar to the McCollum thing where LaVine’s got a potentially huge extension coming up for him. I believe after next season because this season they need cap space to do it. Lowe on LaVine: They can extend him, but it’s going to be below as market number…so he’ll play it out.
If the Sixers can bring LaVine in here, it would be a big upgrade in terms of an aggressive scorer who can take games over, but on the flip side, it’s also similar to the McCollum deal where Philadelphia will need to rely on Maxey to handle the ball more often. Maybe, he is ready for such a challenge.
Simmons to the Hornets
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This is where Lowe took over and he had a couple of trade suggestions in mind starting with the Charlotte Hornets:
These are not going to be popular Philly fans, I went through them a little bit last week. I think you could make something with Gordon Hayward and something else from Charlotte. The problem is Charlotte may say, ‘Well, he’s not a great fit with LaMelo Ball’. So that’s one.
Hayward was actually having a very productive season for the Hornets averaging 19.6 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 41.5% from deep, but he also suffered another injury and was limited to 44 games. At this point, the risk of trading a young star like Simmons for a guy like Hayward is risky due to his injury history.
Simmons to the Spurs
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Lowe had another interesting trade partner for Simmons in the form of the San Antonio Spurs:
Can I tell you my sneaky esteem? Just purely putting puzzle pieces together, San Antonio is just tailor made for a bunch of stuff for one guy, throw some things at the wall move like why not just say here’s some, here’s some veterans who complement Simmons, here’s some draft picks, it would require them thinking, ‘We’ve got a bunch of pretty good young guys. We don’t think they’re gonna add up to a great team, even when they all reach 23/24/25 years old, Derrick White’s already 26, I think, let’s just take a shot. Correct me if I’m wrong, I believe they could sign and trade DeRozan to the Sixers and the Sixers would still be able to get under the hard cap, right? I think they would have enough leeway right. Even the Spurs have Chip Englland! If there’s one guy who could fix Ben Simmons and make him change hands, they’ve got him.
DeRozan is an interesting option. He is 31-years old, but he is also the impactful player for the Sixers to help Embiid win a title right now. He averaged 21.6 points and 6.9 assists while shooting 49.5% from the floor for San Antonio, and while he is not a constant 3-point threat, he will take shots from deep when the time calls for it.
Simmons to the Timberwolves
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This was a trade that was also suggested by Kendrick Perkins, but Lowe discussed it even further:
Another one I made up, which I actually liked this one kind of, is Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley. Now Malik Beasley has got to come because I just don’t think D’Angelo Russell is enough. Now then I have to send more money out if I’m Philadelphia which raises another point that you probably are going to bring up is, they need to turn one of these salary slots, whether it’s resigning Danny Green or Mike Scott into like an $8, million contract, just for trade purposes just for this reason, I actually like the Russell-Beasley fit around Embiid.
Both Russell and Beasley are legitimate 3-point shooters with Russell shooting it at 38.7% on 7.4 attempts and Beasley at 39.9% on 8.7 attempts so they are both volume shooters. The big issue is neither of them are great defenders and that would drop Philadelphia’s play on that end of the floor. That is where Embiid would have to come in and clean up a lot of their mistakes. On the offensive end, however, they would be perfect fits.