Ben Simmons may have played his last game as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. What deals could the Western Conference offer?
Having already taken a look at what the Eastern Conference has to offer in a Ben Simmons trade, it’s time to look at what the West has to offer in a Ben Simmons deal. There’s been plenty of rumors of Simmons being desired by this or that team, as well as rumors of Daryl Morey going star hunting this offseason. How could those stories pair with the NBA’s Western Conference?
San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich was initially reported to be so interested in Ben Simmons that he “would trade anyone for Ben Simmons.” That report not only turned out to be overblown but in actuality, it was completely fabricated.
Regardless, the idea of Simmons in San Antonio is an interesting one. He would far and away become the team’s best player. Simmons would also give a franchise with seemingly no direction a clear path to the playoffs. Additionally, if anyone can “unlock” Simmons, Coach Pop is likely the person for the job.
The 76ers, meanwhile, would get one of the League’s best perimeter defenders in Dejounte Murray. Murray is additionally a solid passer, terrific rebounder, and, though he doesn’t shoot often, a solid three-point shooter. Murray may not ever be an All-Star, but he’s an above-average starter who, at 24, has plenty of basketball left ahead of him.
Coming over with Murray would be one Jakob Poeltl, who this season became a very solid starting center. He, of course, would fill the role of backup center to Joel Embiid and do so in a capacity that Embiid has frankly never had. Dwight Howard was fine in some areas this past season, but Poeltl would be a major upgrade in most, if not all, areas.
Finally, the Philadelphia 76ers would also be acquiring the 10th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, Devin Vassell. Though the rookie struggled in his first season, there’s plenty of reason to think that he could carve out an impressive NBA career for himself. His combination of size, athleticism, and shooting ability are rare. At his age (20), he could develop into a heck of a player for the Sixers or, more likely, become a quality trade piece for a team that continues its hunt for a second star.
If the Sixers wanted to put as much shooting around Joel Embiid as possible, this might be the trade to do it. By adding Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes, the Sixers would be bringing in two starters who shot over 39% from three last season.
The 76ers would have a massive hole at point guard, but it’s one they could certainly fill in the trade market thanks to their new ammunition (the 9th pick and Marvin Bagley); Ben Simmons may be the only player who needs a change of scenery more than Bagley so both would likely benefit in this deal. Bagley likely won’t ever hit his value as a top-two pick, but he could certainly rebound a good bit of value and become either a future big for the Sixers or a decent trade piece.
The Kings, meanwhile, would add their biggest star since DeMarcus Cousins (and he may come with just as many headaches). A town like Sacramento is dying for star talent, so to move off of big contracts like Barnes’ and Hield’s while getting Simmons back would easily be worth the 9th overall pick.
Golden State Warriors
This is admittedly the longest of longshots but the desire from Philly would obviously be there. It’s hard to envision the Warriors trading Curry anywhere but if the outlook for Klay Thompson isn’t desirable or if Curry wants to win one more and feels he could do that and play with his brother in Philly, there there’s the slightest of chances.
Daryl Morey is obviously interested as seen by his tweet referencing a post by Curry about his brother. Morey and the Sixers were each fined $75k for his comments and I’m sure Daryl has no regrets. Just putting it out there could end up being worth the combined $150k.
If the Sixers are going to trade for Curry it’s going to take a lot. Simmons, Maxey, Thybulle, and multiple picks. It’s and incredibly high price for an incredible player. A Steph Curry/Joel Embiid pairing would be incredibly ideal. Hopefully, you could convince Curry to stick around after the season but you do this move for the shot to win it all.
The Warriors meanwhile would lean into their rebuild with two additional picks and three quality players under the age of 25. More moves would be coming for Golden State but they would be perfectly fine with that to be set up so well for a rebuild.