Ben Simmons wants to leave the Sixers, and word has it he wants to go to California. On that note, here’s a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers
The Sixers have been waiting for one of the NBA’s top stars, namely Damian Lillard, to seek a trade, and in a Shakespearian form of irony, Lillard is “happy in Portland,” while Simmons has informed the Sixers he will not play another game for them.
Simmons reported desire to play in California should mean little to nothing to the Sixers. While Rich Paul has outrageous demands in regards to his client, there is a midground that can certainly be reached.
A deal can even still be struck with Portland, who are allegedly one of the seven teams who could be interested in Simmons, at least according to CBS Sports writer Brad Botkin. The Blazers have always made sense as a trade partner (though typically for Lillard). With Lillard allegedly in Portland for the long haul and the increased pressure for a trade from Simmons’ camp, the Sixers may be forced to pursue a deal centered around the Robin to Lillard’s Batman in CJ McCollum.
Simmons For CJ
While Sixers fans would likely hope for more than a package led by CJ McCollum, it’s tough to find a better available player at the moment. McCollum is older and less versatile, yes, but he’s a far better fit on the current Sixers roster, and that should mean something to Daryl Morey.
McCollum is often classified in the same regard as Tobias Harris or Malcolm Brogdon as players who are just not quite good enough to be All-Stars, but part of the issue for has been playing in the star-studded Western Conference. In the East, McCollum would truly have a chance to shine against some lesser competition. He’d also thrive playing off of a center of Joel Embiid‘s dominant presence.
While he isn’t Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum is a great player in his own right, and the Sixers wouldn’t just be getting McCollum either. While it would also cost Danny Green and Shake Milton, The Sixers would be adding Robert Covington and Anfernee Simons.
Although you would be losing some shooting from Green, Covington would be a nice defensive upgrade to help fill the void Ben Simmons would be leaving. He would also give the Sixers a versatile big-bodied defender that the team will need in order to defend the likes of Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jayson Tatum.
While Covington isn’t the player he once was on either side of the ball, he’d still be a defensive upgrade over Green, and between him and Matisse Thybulle, the Sixers would have enough defense around CJ McCollum to make up for his faults.
Adding young shooter Anfernee Simons and two first-round picks on top of that would round out the deal and give the Sixers more of both a present and a future.
Daryl Morey has built up expectations exponentially in his pursuit of Damian Lillard, and while you can’t blame him in his pursuit, luck once again just didn’t fall in the Sixers’ favor. The has to be a certain point where Morey understands Damian Lillard isn’t available and adjusts accordingly. Hopefully, it’s for the right deal.