As of this moment, Ben Simmons is still a Sixer, but it’s getting closer to the February 10th trade deadline, and the Sixers should be looking to move on. The reports that some in upper management still hold out hope that Simmons will return to the Sixers is as crazy as it sounds. There’s nothing that Simmons, his representatives, or the team have done to make it seem like they’re willing to mend the issues that have developed since the end of last season.
Recent reports, which should all be taken with a grain of salt, suggested that there were a couple of reasonable offers for Simmons and that the team wanted to throw in Tobias Harris and his otherworldly contract into the deals, causing them to fall apart.
It’s going to be hard enough for the Sixers to find a return for Simmons. Between his $33 million salary, lack of participation this season, indifference to shooting the ball as well as reported mental ailments, there are plenty of concerns. Now, they’re trying to throw in the $36 million contract of Tobias Harris? It seems like the Sixers are doing everything in their power to appear to be trying to move Simmons while not actually trying to move him.
So, let’s get down to it. There aren’t going to be any huge returns for Simmons, and the returns may look even less if you’re trying to include Harris. While Harris’ contract is ridiculous, his production has still been consistent with what he’s done in the past. While not what it should be in relation to his salary, Harris has still been contributing the way he has the past two seasons. Soon, leave Harris here, for the time being.
Simmons, on the other hand, has to go. He shouldn’t be here now, and he definitely shouldn’t be here after the trade deadline. The ideal thinking is that you won’t be able to move Simmons unless you involve two other teams. The ideal partner in Sacramento would really have Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes coming back to the Sixers. They could make that work. But what if you just take Hield and involve another team or two.
Here are a few players that could work for the Sixers and could also ultimately get Harris out from under team control.
The 6’2″ shooting guard was originally drafted by Houston, traded to Phoenix, and finally moved to Memphis. He’s a reserve but can give you minutes in a starting role, as needed. Currently, he’s averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, and steals. While his shooting is down, his contributions on defense and spacing would be a huge help to the Sixers’ second unit.
A 6’4″ small forward, Powell is currently averaging over 18 points per game and seeing 33 minutes per game. At 28 years old, Powell would be a guy to hold on to and add the scoring you may lose with Harris being included in the deal. Powell is shooting 41% on three-pointers this season and would space the floor for Joel Embiid. He’s still signed for another four seasons, after this one, around $19 million, which wouldn’t be hard for the Sixers to take on nor maintain.
Currently splitting time with the G-League, Jerome is the lost man in the backcourt rotation in Oklahoma City. While his numbers are down this year, his minutes have been virtually cut in half, and the inconsistent minutes have led to his shooting being down a bit. Last season, Jerome his on 42% of his three-pointers and could provide depth for the Sixers backcourt. More importantly, he could be had relatively cheap from the Thunder.
At 6’10”, Mike Muscala is usually listed and slotted as a center, but with the Sixers, he would fit in perfectly at the four spot. He’s playing limited minutes this season, just under fourteen per game, but he’s hitting three-pointers right around 43% of the time, and he’s a career 85% free throw shooter. Muscala, on the Sixers for the second time, would pair well with Joel Embiid and allow Embiid an option all over the floor if the Sixers were to just put shooters out there. He’s another player that OKC could and would move that would help the Sixers.
At 33 years old, Eric Gordon seems like he’s a bit older than you’d like to see in a return for Simmons but look at how Gordon has been playing, and you’ll see that there might be value there for him. He’s averaging 14.4 points per game in close to 30 minutes, but the key is that he’s still playing great defense, and he’s currently shooting 44% on three-pointers for the season. While the Rockets are looking to get a first-round pick for Gordon, if the right deal came their way and Simmons is involved, Gordon could be a name that’s thrown in to help make all the parts move.
A 6’4″ shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves doesn’t have the star power of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, or D’Angelo Russell, and a change of scenery might just be what helps the 25-year-old. He’s currently shooting 34% on his three-pointers, but that’s down from the past couple of years where he’s been right around 41%. With his $13 million salary, Beasley could be a name that the Sixers could look at to help the team in a multi-team deal.
While none of these players have been named in “offers” or “potential” deals for the Sixers, they could be added to a larger project that the Sixers would take on in trying to move on from Simmons and, if inclined, Harris. They’re pieces that may fit well with the current Sixers team.
Ultimately, Simmons is providing the Sixers with nothing, and waiting on a “superstar” return for a guy that won’t even suit up is a lofty expectation for any team, even if the upside of Ben Simmons is still to be believed. Helping move Simmons, for less than “superstars,” would get the Sixers more pieces to a championship puzzle, rather than holding out and hoping that one man can make it all work.
It’s a team game, and if you can move Simmons more valuable pieces to the team, then that’s the smarter move because he’s not showing anyone anything this year, and they’re basing all of it on the hyper-inflated ideal that he’ll one day perform in the like of LeBron. Right now, even getting Isaiah Joe‘s minutes would be better than what he’s providing the team.