Ben Simmons’ days with the Sixers are clearly numbered, and word has it he wants to go to California. On that note, here’s a trade with the Toronto Raptors.
If there’s one thing that’s become clear this offseason, it’s that Ben Simmons and his camp have no desire to stay in Philadelphia. His time with the Sixers is clearly up, and it’s a matter of when, not if, Simmons is traded. While many hoped for a package for Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, both seem happy in their respective situations.
With those two stars off the table, Daryl Morey has to find a suitable alternative. While Simmons allegedly wants to go to one of the “three California teams” (assuming he’s excluding Sacramento), the only one of those teams with the assets necessary is the Golden State Warriors, who, reportedly, have been out of Ben Simmons trade talks since before the draft.
That being the case, the team should be looking to move Simmmons to any team with a realistic offer. It may not be the deal they were seeking, but they need something reasonable. While the Sixers aren’t quite beggars (yet), they certainly aren’t choosers either.
Simmons Packs His Bags and Heads North
The Toronto Raptors aren’t the first team on Simmons’ list, surely, but they’ve arguably been the most aggressive in trade talks. While the Minnesota Timberwolves have constantly been mentioned in connection to Simmons, the Raptors have been there all along, quietly wait, biding their time.
What could the Raptors offer? Well, Fred VanVleet makes plenty of sense, but as others have pointed out, he makes the most sense on the same team as Simmons. The Raptors’ best player is arguably Pascal Siakam, who, coming off a down year, has found himself also mentioned in trade rumors. While the Raptors, according to many offseason rumors, would probably prefer to include Pascal Siakam, it’s difficult to see the Sixers’ interest unless they have a second move for Tobias Harris lined up.
That leaves two-way combo-forward OG Anunoby as the preferred target for Philadelphia. Entering his fifth season, Anunoby has progressed every year and has become, like Simmons, one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders.
The Raptors have supposedly been hesitant to include Anunoby in any trade talks, and to a degree, it’s understandable why. 6’7 athletic 3&D wings don’t grow on trees, and Anunoby is young enough that there could still be plenty of untapped potential. Teams need to realize that to get a talented young star (Simmons), you have to actually give up something of worth.
Anunoby would give the Sixers a new primary wing defender, he would add more shooting to a team in desperate need, and he’s locked in for four years on an extremely team-friendly deal. As mentioned before, he also still has the potential to continue growing as a player, and while it’s unlikely he becomes a 20+ per-game scorer, he could come close, and with his impressive defense, that’s a fringe All-Star (with even more value in the postseason).
Goran Dragic, meanwhile, provides both competent guard play and a tradable/expiring contract. His veteran presence would benefit the likes of Tyrese Maxey and Jaden Springer much in the same way that Danny Green did for the young Sixers last season.
Wrapping up the deal with two first-round picks would give the Sixers the desired future flexibility to make an additional trade during or after the season.
The Sixers may not get an elite scorer in this trade, but they would be setting up their team for greater postseason success which is the goal at the end of the day. Ben Simmons’ time in Philadelphia is coming to an end. The Sixers have to just hope to gain winning pieces in return.