Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia. According to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the star guard met with members of the Sixers front office and expressed his desire to no longer be part of the team. As he awaits his fate, Simmons also does not intend to report to training camp. His relationship with the Sixers organization has become untenable.
Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia – Two realistic trade scenarios
The Ben Simmons dilemma
The writing was on the wall when Philadelphia’s season crashed and burned in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks. Simmons was benched during key stretches of the series because he was ineffective offensively in a half-court setting, and often even a liability.
His free-throw shooting was consistently shaky, and he shied away from moments there for the taking. Simmons crucially passed up an open dunk in the closing stages of Game 7 in fear of being fouled. His confidence was shot, and the dilemma is, so is his trade value now.
In the aftermath of Philadelphia’s Game 7 meltdown, Simmons was, so to speak, thrown under the team bus by teammate Joel Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers. Asked after Game 7 if Simmons could be a point guard on a championship team, Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
Doc Rivers answers a question whether Ben Simmons can be the point guard of a championship team pic.twitter.com/8xL35u98RC
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 21, 2021
With Simmons making his intentions clear, the situation will grow increasingly more toxic as we edge towards training camp. Tensions are bubbling towards the surface and will soon reach a boiling point. In the meantime, here are two realistic Ben Simmons trade scenarios.
The Trade: Ben Simmons for CJ McCollum and a 2022 first-round pick
In a perfect world, Philadelphia replacing Ben Simmons with Portland superstar Damian Lillard would be the dream scenario. However, in today’s reality Simmons’ stock is at an all-time low, and this trade is somewhat of a pipedream.
A package built around Simmons is unlikely to be enough to entice the Trailblazers into handing over one of the league’s most electrifying scorers. However, it may be enough to get the wheels turning on a potential trade for Lillard’s running mate, CJ McCollum.
Though it has been fun to watch McCollum and Lillard share a backcourt. The combination of two offensive-minded, undersized guards has led to minimal playoff success for Portland. Perhaps a change of scenery is what’s best for both parties. Adding Simmons would lead to massive improvement on the defensive end, an area in which Portland desperately needs to strengthen. Despite his flaws, Simmons is one of the league’s best defensive players. Proving so this season with a runner-up finish for Defensive Player of the Year. Though, if the Sixers do pull the trigger on the McCollum trade, further moves of their own are needed to fill the defensive void left by Simmons.
For the Sixers, McCollum is a much better offensive fit next to franchise big man Embiid. Whilst Simmons has no interest in shooting the ball, McCollum is a legitimate threat from the perimeter. The presence of McCollum will make defenses hesitant to double Embiid inside. This pairing has the potential to stretch defenses and provide a more cohesive balance to the Sixers’ offense.
Golden State Warriors
Tuesday’s report claimed that Simmons wants to go to three California teams. Quickly ruling out the Sacramento Kings, my apologies. Assuming the Clippers will be unwilling to part ways with Paul George, and considering the Lakers’ newly adopted over-30’s policy, leaves the Golden State Warriors as Simmons’ most likely Californian suitor.
As demonstrated in his impressive rookie season, Simmons is at his best when surrounded by shooters. The space created allows Simmons to thrive at what he does best, running the open floor, making the correct reads, and slashing assertively to the rim. In Golden State, Simmons would be surrounded by two of the greatest shooters ever, with an abundance of space to exploit.
Can Simmons and Green co-exist?
One thing that may hold this trade scenario back is the idea of pairing Simmons with Draymond Green, a player with shooting flaws of his own. However, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the great equalizers, able to make up for the greatest of shooting deficiencies. The Warriors are also no strangers to playing line-ups with two or more non-shooters. Green and Kevon Looney have regularly closed high leveraged playoff games together. A small ball line-up headlined by the versatility and switch-ability of Simmons and Green is a mouth-watering prospect defensively.
In a deal that will see Simmons depart, Philadelphia may not see a return of Wiggins as overly attractive. However, Wiggins certainly spaces the floor better than Simmons, shooting 38% from deep last season. Also, arguably no other team has a better package of young talent to offer than the Warriors. In Moody, the Sixers would have another young piece, along with Tyrese Maxey and Tyrese Haliburton, who possesses buckets of potential on both sides of the floor. However, the Sixers may also demand the services of Jonathan Kuminga instead of Poole to make this deal work. Whilst the Warriors may be reluctant to do so, it shouldn’t hold them back from making the trade happen.
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