Ben Simmons, the 2017-2018 Rookie of the Year and three-time NBA All-Star reportedly is in the sights of the Portland Trailblazers. Simmons made it abundantly clear that he has no intentions of ever playing another game for the Sixers. Portland has shown interest in trading for Simmons throughout the early summer and as recent as last week. The Trailblazers are interested in trading for Simmons, as is their star guard, Damian Lillard. Lillard liked a photo of him and Simmons together in a photoshopped pairing of the two in Portland jerseys.
Does Simmons Want to Play for the Trailblazers?
According to reports, Simmons prefers to play for a team in California. A potential destination for him in California is the Golden State Warriors, as they have displayed interest in Simmons. However, the Warriors are reportedly not interested in acquiring Simmons as long as Draymond Green is still on their roster. Regardless of whether or not Simmons wants to play in California, he has made it clear: he wants out! The entire NBA knows that he has likely played his last game as a Sixer. If Simmons does not want to play for Portland alongside Lillard, here are three other possible trade scenarios.
Blazers Interest in Trading for Simmons
Simmons is an All-NBA, perennial All-Star type player. Since entering the league, he has averaged 15.9PPG, 8.1RPG, and just under eight assists per game for his career. If this trade were to be executed, CJ McCollum and Robert Covington would likely go to Philadelphia, with a combination of draft picks. It is also possible that Shake Milton would be involved in the trade and accompany Simmons to Portland. Portland would likely move Simmons to a stretch four or “point forward” type of player — allowing Simmons to work within the paint, where he scores most of his points and is an offensive rebounding machine. Simmons needs to shoot in the 70% range from the FT line for any team looking to trade for him.
Lillard’s and Simmons’ Supporting Cast in Portland
The Blazers would already have a multitude of pick-and-roll plus pick-and-pop plays with Lillard’s and Simmons’ athleticism. Portland would also still have plenty of perimeter shooting options to shoot the three-ball. Norman Powell and Anfernee Simons both shot a career-high 3PFG percentage from beyond the arc last season. Ben McLemore and Tony Snell (both signed as free agents in the off-season) also shoot the ball at a high clip from deep. To summarize, the Blazers would have a great supporting cast to surround Lillard and Simmons. Lillard is one of the greatest long-range shooters ever. The aforementioned role players can also shoot the ball from distance, while a healthy Jusuf Nurkić holds down the paint.
Grading the Trailblazers Possible Trade for Simmons
Assuming the Blazers do not have to give up more than McCollum and Covington, this trade could be exactly what Portland needs under first-year Head Coach, Chauncey Billups. While acquiring an all-world talent in Simmons, they would likely obtain a player like Milton in order to match the salaries. Philadelphia asking for a first-round pick seems like a stretch as there are not many teams in the sweepstakes to acquire Simmons at the time of publishing. If the Trailblazers get Simmons and Milton for McCollum and Covington, without surrendering draft capital, they should make the trade. If they do not, another team will — and that team will win the Simmons sweepstakes.
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