Why it may take more than one trade to end the Ben Simmons saga

Ben Simmons
NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) dribbles against New Orleans Pelicans in the first half during a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Apr 09, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

There have been a ton of swirling rumors regarding the offers for Ben Simmons and his availability for trade. Just as the three-time all-star is an interesting fit on the basketball court, he also is a unique asset on the trade market. An interesting blend of “win-now player” and one budding with potential, finding a trade partner to agree on a deal that benefits both teams is not an easy task. One way to address this potential conflict is by simply breaking it into two trades.

What would a Ben Simmons trade look like?

Rather than swinging for the fences and landing the superstar, this would be a trade aimed at stocking up assets for increased chances at the eventual deal. With many of the teams linked to having an interest in Ben Simmons lacking the desired star power, this may be a more realistic approach for the Sixers.

Adding a multitude of draft picks and young players for the former Rookie of the Year would seemingly be a much easier task. Making this decision would certainly pin the Sixers in a corner with this return failing to elevate them to true championship contenders. However, when looking to pry a star from a team that could look to slip into rebuild mode, throwing a multitude of draft picks could increase the trade’s appeal in a major way.

Importance of a 2025 first-round pick:

If the Sixers are able to add a 2025 first-round pick in this trade, it would make them much more flexible in the hunt for trades. Adding this 2025 pick would allow the Sixers to avoid the Stepien Rule, which states that teams are not allowed to trade first-round picks in consecutive years. If the Sixers are able to bring back a 2025 first-rounder, it would open up the potential to attach 2024 and 2026 picks in a deal, which they are currently unable to offer.

Why this would benefit the Sixers:

The reported market for Ben Simmons has been all over the map but flipping him for the top-tier superstar that they are seemingly in search of may be out of the question. This would only make sense for the other teams if they are betting on Simmons improving aspects of his game which, now four years into his NBA career, seems a risky gamble. For the teams that could be coaxed into dealing these types of stars, it may be more appealing to kick their franchise into rebuild mode.

This could be extremely effective when looking into a deal for Dame Lillard, Bradley Beal, or even Zach LaVine. Since the Lillard era began in Portland, the Trail Blazers have been knocked out in the first round of the playoffs five times, lost in the conference semifinals twice, and fell in the conference finals twice. Now following back-to-back first-round exits, some serious questions about the ceiling of the team have begun to occur. With limited cap room and the thoughts of a rebuild beginning to creep in, sending multiple picks and young guys would likely be the Sixers’ best shot at prying away the Trail Blazers Superstar.

Adding these assets would likely be even more attractive in a potential deal with the Wizards. During Bradley Beal’s time with the organization, Washington has never made it past the conference semis. It seems clear that Russell Westbrook is not the co-star that can get help Beal get the team over the edge and the writing seems on the wall for 28-year old to demand out. A collection of picks and young players would help jumpstart the rebuild for the Wizards and be a much more appealing offer for the three-time all-star.

The increase in rumors seems to indicate that the Ben Simmons saga may be heading toward an ending. In theory, one big trade that solves the roster issues would be ideal, but breaking it into two simpler deals may prove to be easier. A potential three-team trade could also solve this issue but all three teams must fully be on board for this to work. Shipping Simmons off for a haul of picks and young players would put the pressure on for a second deal and if this does not occur it would be a failure. That being said, Morey has certainly made the proper calls and would only make this deal if he has another trade is agreed upon in principle. The end goal of finding a Simmons trade is to find the proper co-star to pair with Joel Embiid and breaking this into two trades may go a long way in helping the Sixers accomplish this.

(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire