Ben Simmons reportedly wants out of Philadelphia, but where could the 76ers trade him to get close to fair value? And what team would be best for Simmons to start over?
Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson, Sandeep Chandok and Joe Lago each present a best-case scenario for the disgruntled three-time All-Star.
Stylistically, Minnesota makes the most sense for Simmons. To get him to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Timberwolves should not lowball Philly, and the Sixers shouldn’t price-gouge. either. The deal would be beneficial for both sides.
While they envision adding Simmons to Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, the Wolves would have to part ways with Russell. The 76ers need a quality veteran in return to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference, so Minnesota will need to compromise and include the 2018-19 All-Star point guard in all negotiations.
While he is criticized for not developing a reliable jump shot (or even attempt shots, as in Philadelphia’s Eastern Conference semifinal loss to Atlanta), Simmons is still a talented basketball player. A fresh start in Minnesota could be just what he needs. If a deal can’t be made with the Wolves, Cleveland also makes sense for Simmons if the Cavaliers are willing to include Kevin Love and Collin Sexton in a trade package.
— Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson
Portland Trail Blazers
If there’s any team that should be all-in on Simmons, it’s the Trail Blazers. They’ve made slight upgrades to their roster, acquiring Larry Nance Jr. from the Cavs, but Nance won’t be enough to help Portland contend in the Western Conference. In the last eight seasons, the Blazers have had four first-round exits, and the one time they reached the conference finals they got swept by a Warriors team that was without Kevin Durant. It’s time for a change.
Damian Lillard has made it clear that he wants to remain in Portland, and the Blazers have echoed that sentiment. But it’s not Dame that has to go. It’s CJ McCollum. McCollum is a talented player and one of the league's better shooters, but he’s an undersized two-guard and, like Lillard, an inadequate defender.
McCollum could take over point-guard duties for the 76ers, who would have more than enough defense around him with Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle and Joel Embiid. Portland would have to include more in the deal to get Simmons, likely Nassir Little and its 2024 second-rounder, and a third team might have to be involved to sweeten things for the Sixers. With Jusuf Nurkic on an expiring contract, he wouldn’t be difficult to move, so it’s doable.
Simmons would slot in as the Blazers’ point forward, and with Lillard, Norman Powell, Robert Covington and Nance running the floor, the team would be dangerous in transition and in the half court. At 6-foot-10, Simmons, a two-time All-Defensive selection and runner-up in 2020-21 Defensive Player of the Year voting, can guard one through five. Portland hasn’t had a player like that since drafting Lillard in 2012.
If they acquire Simmons, the Blazers won't become an instant championship contender, but they will be a better team, will win more games and could find themselves back in the conference finals.
— Sandeep Chandok
Golden State Warriors
Let’s be clear: The Warriors don’t need Simmons. Not if the 76ers are asking for Andrew Wiggins, 2020 No. 2 pick James Wiseman and multiple first-round selections. While Simmons would help head coach Steve Kerr recreate Golden State’s old “Death Lineup” of elite defenders to close out games, he would create spacing problems on offense as a second non-shooter on the floor with small-ball center Draymond Green.
For the Warriors, the only way a Simmons trade makes sense is having just one non-shooter on the court. And yes, that would mean trading Green to Philadelphia as part of a blockbuster swap with Wiseman.
This has nothing to do with Green’s viral interview with Kevin Durant that opened up old wounds (and may have created new ones). If owner Joe Lacob really is serious about bridging the Splash Brothers dynasty era to a hopeful future with 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, then he would consider the merits of acquiring another selfless playmaker with All-Defensive pedigree who’s younger and bigger than the 31-year-old Green.
As for that problematic jump shot, the Warriors’ development crew could work on it with Simmons while he continues to do what he does best — drive, pass and defend.
— Joe Lago