It’s Christmas time and Ben Simmons is still a Sixer. While Daryl Morey has not given us the gift of a Simmons trade, we’re coping by coming up with more fake trades.
In the spirit of the holidays, some of us here at Liberty Ballers are offering three festive-themed trades: “Under the tree” (produces a star-caliber player), “Stocking stuffer” (no star, but makes the Sixers better) and a “Lump of coal” (self-explanatory).
Enjoy, and everyone have a happy and safe holiday!
Under the tree
Two first-round picks
In this deal, the Sixers put an end to the Simmons saga once and for all, secure a budding star point guard to pair with Joel Embiid and form a devastatingly fun and potential-filled backcourt with Tyrese Maxey, and excitedly barrel toward the season’s second half. The Thunder do this deal because Sam Presti is confident that Simmons could pad stats like few other players while the Thunder would continue to continue to lose plenty of games, pick in the lottery, and he’ll be able to flip Simmo the Savage later on for a bounty, when the Thunder will hopefully be ready to finally actually contend. While it may seem odd for the Thunder to deal a young player like SGA they ought to just build around, I’d point you to Sam Hinkie trading Jrue Holiday as a somewhat similar model. A guy can dream. It’s the holidays.
2022 first-round pick (via PHI)
2022 second-round pick (via PHI)
2022 first-round pick (via SAC, lottery protected)
If it’s not already abundantly clear, I spend far too much time on the trade machine. The Sixers receive an All-Star perimeter creator in Beal — who made some interesting comments recently about his future — and take a flyer on a young wing in Reddish that potentially could be available. It’ll be tricky re-signing both players, but you get them in the fold to help Joel Embiid this year and then figure it out in the offseason.
The Wizards get a young point guard in Fox that just missed out on being an All-Star last season and is still just 24. Perhaps leaving the most cursed organization in the NBA could help with Fox’s recent regression. Hield gives Washington some much needed shooting. The picks are to sweeten the pot since the Wizards are parting with the best player in this deal.
The Kings get Simmons, who should raise their floor and form a ridiculous defensive duo with Davion Mitchell. In Dinwiddie they get a solid veteran ballhander and creator to take pressure off Simmons and Tyrese Haliburton. Dinwiddie also has a pretty tradeable contract for any future deals Sacramento could make.
Atlanta could look to trade Reddish because of its messy cap sheet. Springer is cheap, young and has defensive potential. Though the Kings’ pick will be protected, a Sacramento draft pick is always a sound investment.
Top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick
Truthfully, this is a deal I’m not sure the offensively challenged Celtics go through with, but I see the appeal for both sides. Simmons lets them embrace their defense-first identity and could play alongside a stretch big again in Al Horford. Boston would have to separate he and Robert Williams’ minutes, but Simmons would also get to share the floor with a star perimeter creator in Jayson Tatum, which is always what his ardent supporters and the idealized version of him calls for.
In Brown, the Sixers get a legit secondary scorer who would thrive off of the advantages Joel Embiid creates in the post and is a dynamite dribble hand-off operator, a preferred method for Embiid. Philadelphia lacks quick, effective decision-makers to capitalize off of Embiid’s gravity and Brown is exactly that. He can also run some pick-and-rolls and is a versatile off-ball shooter. This team needs to up its transition volume, an aspect Simmons provides and has been missed, and Brown is a wonderful open court scorer. The defense would certainly suffer, particularly because of his off-ball lapses, but the dynamic scoring he’d bring next to Embiid is tantalizing.
(A non-Simmons proposal)
Danny is a helpful player, but I’m seeing some real defensive regression. The Sixers would be betting on Osman’s 39 percent conversion rate on nearly six nightly threes being real, but I think trading down eight years in age could prove fruitful this spring.
2022 first-round pick (via SAC, lottery protected)
This seems like a win-win-win trade, despite the Sixers not landing a star. Reddish is still young and flashes shot creation ability and has defensive potential with great size on the wing. Hield brings volume three-point shooting, something the Sixers desperately need. The contract hurts a little with Hield, and, again, retaining Reddish could be tricky, but this makes the Sixers pretty dangerous around Embiid right now. Wright adds more ball handling, an obvious and desperate need, and is on an expiring deal.
The Kings get Simmons while still hanging on to Fox and Haliburton. Along with Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes, that’s not a great team, but one that has a shot at a play-in game. They get a lottery ticket in Springer, who is still just 19.
The Hawks get a player that’s not as good as Hunter but better than Solomon Hill (both are out for the season), and a potentially valuable draft pick.
Top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick (conveys as two seconds otherwise)
Brogdon would be the second-best perimeter creator of the Embiid Era behind Jimmy Butler and complements Tyrese Maxey exceptionally well offensively. He’s a very good passer and shooter, and has improved as a driver and finisher this season. Justin Holiday is a good shooter and can function as a viable point-of-attack in certain matchups. This deal couldn’t happen until the offseason because Brogdon recently signed an extension and is ineligible to be traded, but Dary Morey and Co. are clearly very content to wait.
Lump of coal
Simmons continues to toil away in nowhereville as the Sixers don’t trade him, and the Sixers play with a $35 million gaping hole on the roster. I’m not saying Daryl Morey has to make a deal he doesn’t like (the more I consider a trade for a CJ McCollum-like player, the more I dislike it), but I’m saying that the time has come for Morey to get creative to both better the team now and improve it’s financial future and prospect of making more trades down the road. The team is suffering, and there’s no end in sight. Maybe he’ll hold Simmons until this summer, or 2023, or he’ll extend him for 10 more years as Ben continues to not play for the Sixers in a weird game of power play chicken, and ultimately be proven right as as 42-year-old Ben finally gets traded for an in-his-prime superstar who is currently 11. But color me skeptical. I don’t know what the right trade is right now, and frankly, it’s not my job to. But as a Sixers fan, I’ve had enough. And I wonder how much more of a stomach for this guys like Joel and Doc have, too. There’s no better time to end this than the holidays, Daryl. Make it happen.
Any player on the Timberwolves not named Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards
Blazers or Timberwolves get:
McCollum is not the answer here. He makes the Sixers marginally better this season, but makes their cap sheet messier moving forward. The Sixers will have McCollum and Tobias Harris as max contracts that aren’t max players. It’s a surefire way to waste Embiid’s prime.
I can see why Minnesota would want Simmons, but I have little appetite to take back D’Angelo Russell or a combination of Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverley.
The caveat to these deals is either team offering a James Harden-esque package of draft compensation that could lead to the Sixers eventually flipping them for a star.
Top-10 protected first-round pick
I know Murray is a favorite among some Sixers fans in a return package for Simmons, but I’m much less enthralled by his game. He’d certainly help defensively, particularly as a playmaker and point-of-attack stopper, but his offense gives me pause.
As an outside shooter and facilitator, he’s grown this year, though he still struggles with many reads beyond pocket passes and has a career true shooting percentage of 50.4. He doesn’t strike me as someone with aspirations of a deep playoff run should be handing significant usage to, but that’s what Philadelphia would require of him most likely.
McDermott is a very good shooter who can put the ball on the deck occasionally, but he’s not moving the needle for the Sixers. Between Murray and Derrick White, the latter is who I’d target if Simmons is destined to be a Spur.