Of those 10 teams, Fischer named nine of them, including Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, Minnesota, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Toronto. That’s a solid list though likely the teams have varying levels of interest.
That leaves one mystery team without a name, but just who could that be? Whoever they are, they are crucial to all of this as, according to Fischer, the mystery team “held substantial trade conversations with Philadelphia of late.”
There’s no real way to know who the mystery team is, but there are a few possibilities:
The Charlotte Hornets are a very sensical landing spot for Ben Simmons on paper. A young team (top five in average age), the Hornets boast a very athletic team, one that Simmons would fit like a glove.
It should be nothing but a dream come true for Simmons to be able to run the fast break with the likes of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. After all, that’s when he’s at his best. The Hornets were a top-10 in points scored on the fast-break, and that number would be sure to climb into the top-five, top-three even if they added Simmons.
Ben Simmons would also be able to transform the Hornets’ defense from average to one of the best in the entire league.
A package for Simmons would have to be focused around either Gordon Hayward or, preferably, Terry Rozier. In either case, the Sixers would be adding a veteran shooter who would be able to help lead the team in the playoffs. A Simmons deal to Charlotte hasn’t been talked about much, but it’s certainly something that should be.
A lineup boasting Morant, Jackson, and Simmons, however, well, that could be revolutionary for Memphis basketball. Simmons would have his stretch-five at long last in Jackson and a more-than-capable guard to run the offense in the half-court.
The Grizzlies have a few players who should interest the Sixers, no true star to offer, but the combination of role players and draft picks could be promising. A deal would likely include one of Kyle Anderson, De’anthony Melton, or Dillon Brooks.
It’s not the most enticing spread, but if the Grizzlies are willing to offer up substantial draft compensation, the Sixers may decide it’s their best bet.
“How could this be?” you may ask. Well, it’s quite simple.
Unfortunately, the most likely answer to the question of the mystery team is that there never was a mystery team at all. This is not to say that Jake Fischer’s report is incorrect. Of course not, but rather to say that the “source” is likely from inside the Sixers’ organization and is using the concept of a mystery team to drive up Simmons’ value.
Now, this is nothing definite, but the reality is, if a team were really that close to acquiring Ben Simmons, someone would have heard something about it. For there to be no real rumor as to who it is, compounded with the fact that the narrative surrounding the mystery team is one clearly meant to convince other teams to bid harder, shows that this is the most likely answer.
It’s not shocking, to say the least if any team were to try this tactic. This is nothing new; the Sixers would be far from the first or the last team to try something like this.
Obviously, it would be a bit disheartening for the fanbase, but whether or not it works, it’s a standard strategy that the Sixers should be employing if they are not already.