According to The Athletic’s David Aldridge, Ben Simmons “would have no problem going to Sacramento,” opening the door once again for speculation about the Sixers’ disgruntled star “heading out Californi’ way.” While Simmons has been open to seemingly any team but Philadelphia, Aldridge is correct that the Kings, in particular, are a sensical leading spot.
Offensively, Ben Simmons is a surprisingly decent fit as the Kings love to run in transition, seemingly the only area Simmons’ thrives on offense. Where things really start to make sense, however, is the impact Simmons can have defensively.
The Sacramento Kings were among the league’s worst in almost every single defensive category last season. While Simmons wouldn’t be able to solve every single issue with the Kings’ defense, he certainly will improve them in many different areas.
As Aldrige points out, Ben Simmons is “…the kind of talent the Kings would never have a chance of getting in free agency.” If there Sacramento Kings are ever going to climb their way out of the cellar, they’re going to need to make a bold addition like Ben Simmons. They may even have to give up more than they’d like to make it happen.
The One-For-One Swap
Yes, the Sacramento Kings have been rumored to consider both De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton untouchable in trade talks. Considering what Simmons has accomplished as opposed to the Kings’ young players, it shouldn’t even be a conversation. Former NBA player Raja Bell said it best – “What the F**k are we talking about?!”
With Simmons, the Kings would be able to move their defense from the worst-performing in the league into a respectable top 20 defense at worst. Simmons’ versatility would be a tremendous advantage for the Kings, and he could help get the best out of Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, and Richaun Holmes. All of which are solid defenders but could take their game to the next level.
The three-point shooting of Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Harrison Barnes would be another major aid to Simmons, helping him to play the game the way he wants. To have the ball in his hands, run, and have plenty of shooters to pass to, Simmons would finally have his wish and in California of all places.
The Sixers, meanwhile, would have a young two-way point guard who could be on his way to the first All-Star appearance in his young career in Philadelphia. De’Aaron Fox is a special young player, and while he’s not a perfect player, he would supply the Sixers with the solution to many of their needs.
One-for-one player swaps are rare, especially when the two players are of the same caliber as Simmons and Fox. With that being said, by simply swapping the two players, both teams would improve.
The Total Package
Remember how we talked about the Kings not considering Fox or Haliburton available? Well, once again, don’t care.
The Kings will have to make moves they’re uncomfortable with to make a winning roster. One of those uncomfortable moves includes trading Fox or Haliburton, at least, if they want a real shot at landing a player like Ben Simmons. In the words of Coach David Thorpe:
“When people are writing the Kings shouldn’t trade Tyrese Halliburton for Ben Simmons, are you f**king kidding me?…Daryl Morey would never do that deal.”
Haliburton, Hield, and Barnes may be the best possible deal for the Sixers as they get an elite shooter, a young, exciting point guard, and a solid veteran 3&D wing. Daryl Morey can’t expect to do much better than that. The loss of Seth Curry and Furkan Korkmaz hurts but the deal would prove more than worth it.
If Sacramento is serious about not trading either Fox or Haliburton (which would be crazy), then it will take the rest of their top assets. Veterans Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield are a starting point that will help the Sixers remain competitive.
On the other hand, Davion Mitchell would provide the team with a young guard with legitimate potential that could pair nicely with Tyrese Maxey going forward. If he ends up not being a part of the team’s plans going forward, he could also be used in a future trade to land Philadelphia, a bigger fish.
Speaking of future trade value, that’s exactly what Daryl Morey would be planning with the two first-round picks received from Sacramento. The Sixers would then have plenty of draft capital, valuable young players, and matching salary to land a superstar should they become available.