Despite Doc Rivers’ recent comments, trading Ben Simmons is a real possibility for the 76ers. What deals could the Eastern Conference offer?
Ben Simmons’ value appears to be at an all-time low, so the first question Daryl Morey must ask himself is if it’s worth trading Simmons or attempting to rebuild his value and move him at the deadline. Obviously, the issue gives his replacement little time to establish chemistry, and there’s also no guarantee that Simmons’ value would go up and not down.
Regardless, Morey would not be doing his job if he was not constantly evaluating moves to make the team better. Teams may not be as interested as before, but Simmons will still have plenty of teams vying for his services; it’ll just take the right deal.
Starting off is by far the least exciting move, but it’s one that could help the Philadelphia 76ers in both the short and long term. Do not let the inclusion of Kevin Love fool you; this trade isn’t really about him at all. The keys here are Larry Nance, a 2022 first, and, of course, Collin Sexton.
Love could prove to be more than just a living trade exception, though. We certainly didn’t see the best version of Kevin Love last season, both on and off the court, and he’ll be the first to admit it. It’s quite the leap to assume that Love could return to his 2017-18 form, but if he’s playing for a contender in Philly, his motivation would be at its highest since that year. Worst case he could be used in a deal for say Kemba Walker if the Sixers were so inclined.
Larry Nance Jr., a Cleveland fan-favorite, would be a solid get for the Sixers as a two-way floor-stretching big. The 2022 first-round pick has obvious value though it is lottery-protected. It will likely be some time before the Cavs pick is somewhere in the 20-30 range, so a first from Cleveland could prove quite valuable even as a trade chip (at least if it conveys).
Finally, Collin Sexton is the real prize for the Sixers in this trade. Sexton, a volume scorer, is coming off of a career-high 24.3 points-per-game while shooting 47.5% from the floor and 37.1% from three. From a scoring standpoint, he is an immense upgrade over Ben Simmons; he is, however, a downgrade in almost every other area.
That’s okay, though, because Collins would serve a specific role and an important one at that. At best, Collins could be the team’s bucket-getter from the perimeter. A starter who can put up 20-something points a night and do so efficiently. At worst, Collins would become a wonderful option to become the team’s long-term sixth-man.
Again, it’s not the most exciting deal, but it would improve the Sixers would see improved scoring and depth after this move, two things that must be a focus for Daryl Morey this offseason.
Time and time again, Bradley Beal’s availability has come into question, and each and every time, the same answer has come. By all accounts, Beal is happy in Washington for whatever reason. The writing is on the wall, though, or at least it should be, as the Wizards have clearly hit their ceiling. Furthermore, Scott Brooks (who Beal was quite fond of) is no longer the team’s Head Coach. If there was a time to make a big move, that time is now.
Beal for Simmons could have been a clean player-for-player swap once upon a time but no longer. Now, the 76ers would have to include one of their young players (Maxey) and likely two first-round picks as well.
It’s a steep price to pay but one that would be certainly worth it as Beal would be an immense upgrade for this Sixers offense. The team would have an even large hole at point guard than they already do, but a Goran Dragic or Reggie Jackson signing could help solve that.
In a very similar deal to the one with the Wizards, the 76ers get their star though not necessarily the one fans have clamored for. Many have voiced a strong desire for Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, and while LaVine is not them, he’s by no means a consolation prize.
Lavine is coming off his best season as a pro, averaging 27.4 points per game with a shooting line of 50.7/41.9/84.9, all career highs. LaVine may not be on Lillard or Beal’s level yet, but with the way he’s improved year after year, he certainly could reach that level.
He’s barely 26 years old. Even if he just sustained his level of play from last season, the Sixers would have a tremendous addition to their team, but he’s so young he could potentially exceed that.
While LaVine fills the perimeter scoring need the Philadelphia 76ers desperately need, Ben Simmons would fill some needs for Chicago as well. First, the Bulls have desperately needed and continue to need someone to actually facilitate their offense, and if there’s one thing Simmons wants to do, it’s playing with the ball in his hands.
Secondly, the Bulls lack a go-to defender, someone who can match-up one on one and close games defensively; that man is Ben Simmons. A lineup featuring Coby White, Ben Simmons, Patrick Williams, Lauri Markkanen, and Nikola Vucevic could play very well off one another.