Is Ben Simmons Destined for Sacramento?

Ben Simmons
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

As we get closer to the NBA Trade Deadline on February 10th, the rumors continue to heat up surrounding All-Star guard Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. According to some reports, the Sixers aren’t any closer to making a deal to trade Ben Simmons, even with many teams interested in acquiring him. The teams rumored to be interested include Pacers, Timberwolves, Kings, and most recently, the Hawks.

In recent days, there have been some rumors coming out of both Philadelphia and Sacramento regarding a potential Ben Simmons trade. It has been reported that Daryl Morey and the Sixers may be interested in trading Tobias Harris in any Simmons deal. It has also been reported by Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Kings are contemplating taking back Harris in a Simmons deal.

Even today, two more reports have come out as it relates to the Sacramento Kings. First, from the Philadelphia Inquire’s Keith Pompey, word that the Sacramento Kings has been considering quite the offer for several Sixers players. According to Pompey’s sources, the Kings have been considering a deal for Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle in exchange for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and two first-round picks.

Pompey would go on to say that even with that haul of assets from Sacramento, Philadelphia is still are not interested. There’s no telling if the hang-up would be the inclusion of Thybulle but that would be understandable for Philadelphia.

Then, as if it were some form of retaliation, The Athletic’s Shams Charania announced that, according to his sources, the Sacramento Kings are secure in their desire to build their team going forward around De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. This will obviously confuse many who read Pompey’s report that came out less than an hour previous.

One possibility is that a source close to Sacramento became aware of Pompey’s story and either disagreed or at the very least, is trying to set up a smokescreen. All of that of course depends on Shams’ source.

Usually, where there is smoke, there is fire, and there seems to be more smoke coming out of Sacramento these days than in any other city. While one could debate who’s report is right all day, let’s instead take a look at two realistic trades the two sides could make:

Why Trade Harris?

The first thing that should be discussed is why is Tobias Harris’ name floating around in trade rumors? Tobias Harris signed a 5-year $180 million contract in the summer of 2019. Both the Sixers and Harris have received criticism regarding the contract. Elton Brand has received criticism for offering that kind of deal to a player who has never been an all-star. Harris has received criticism for not playing like a “max player.” 

Last year, Tobias Harris had an all-star caliber season and was considered one of the players most deserving that didn’t make the team. Harris has had an up-and-down season so far, and his inconsistency has hurt the Sixers and angered most fans. Harris started off the season well but just hasn’t been good after dealing with COVID and the Flu. He is currently dealing with a nagging shoulder as well. Many are hoping that he returns to his form from last season, but it seems that the Sixers’ front office may think it is time to move on. 

With 2 years and roughly $80 million left after this season, Morey could be angling for max cap space with both Simmons and Harris off the books. There have been recent rumblings of James Harden being open to leaving Brooklyn and possibly being interested in Philadelphia due to his relationship with Morey. If the Sixers were able to trade for some expiring contracts or movable pieces, they would be able to obtain some financial flexibility this offseason to trade for a star if they request out or, in the case of Harden, be able to offer pieces in a sign-and-trade. 

The Package the Sixers Should Want

Sacramento ReceivesPhiladelphia Receives
Ben SimmonsTyrese Haliburton
Tobias HarrisBuddy Hield
Paul ReedHarrison Barnes
Isaiah JoeMarvin Bagley
2023 & 2025 First-Round Picks

In this scenario, the Sixers trade Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Paul Reed, and Isaiah Joe for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, and two future first-round picks. Roughly the same deal that Keith Pompey proposed as that deal had about all the Sixers could reasonably ask for.  

The Sixers seem to really be interested in Tyrese Haliburton, and many can see why. He is a natural point guard who can facilitate for others and create his own offense when needed. He is a good shooter and is a good fit next to Maxey going forward, so Maxey could focus on being a scorer. Harrison Barnes is a better fit next to Joel Embiid at the power forward position because he spaces the floor much better. Harris likes to operate in the mid-post and mid-range, while Harris is usually an outside shooter or will drive if the lane is open. He can also do some of the things Harris did but at half the salary.

Buddy Hield would be an asset to the Sixers because of his confidence and shooting ability. He wouldn’t bring much on the defensive end, but his dribble handoffs with Embiid would be deadly. Marvin Bagley III would be a good athletic backup four and could play a little small ball five as well but most importantly, an expiring contract. 

The Package the Kings Should Want to Offer

Sacramento ReceivesPhiladelphia Receives
Ben SimmonsDe’Aaron Fox
Tobias HarrisBuddy Hield
Isaiah JoeHarrison Barnes

In this scenario, the Sixers trade Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and likely one of the Sixers’ young and cheap options, say, Isaiah Joe for De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, and Buddy Hield. The Sacramento Kings and De’Aaron Fox seemed destined for a divorce with the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton and would like to trade him to the Sixers to try to pair Simmons and Harris with Haliburton.

De’Aaron Fox wouldn’t be the best fit on the Sixers. He would be a true point guard, which the Sixers lack, but his scoring skill set is redundant because of the leap Tyrese Maxey has made. Fox would help push the pace of a team that is at the bottom of the league in that category, but his shooting touch is something that is lacking. Maybe the Sixers try to move Fox to a third team, but I think trading for Fox is something the Sixers aren’t interested in currently.

With new rumors surfacing each day, who knows what will happen before the trade deadline but with Joel Embiid playing like an MVP each game, the Sixers need some reinforcements with the Eastern Conference seemingly wide open.