I have finally seen my new favorite trade involving Ben Simmons. It was proposed by shdwmyth in the comment section of the recent Simmons article about looking for an all star caliber player article here. It satisfies multiple rumors all in one. It gets the Timberwolves their target player in Simmons. And it gets the Sixers TWO strong perimeter players who are "all star caliber." Here's the trade:
1st EDITED EDITION - we're going to use Rubio's salary as a jump off point to bring in Lowry, fully rounding out this trade.
PHI gets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander + Kyle Lowry (assuming a $30m salary in 21-22) + Chris Boucher (break even salary)
TOR gets: Ricky Rubio + Naz Reid + George Hill + PHI #28 (cut $7.3m salary)
MIN gets: Ben Simmons (add $3.1m salary)
OKC gets: Anthony Edwards (add $4.7m salary)
Why Oklahoma City does it...
The Thunder replace Gilgeous-Alexander, a potential star, with Anthony Edwards, a younger potential star. They have a multitude of 1st round picks over the next few years. Those picks can be used on players or in trades, but it means their building process is long term. Gilgeous-Alexander is good right now and is due for a big raise in 2022. Replacing him with the younger player allows Edwards to be a more appropriate focal point of their timeline.
Why Minnesota does it...
The Timberwolves get to acquire Simmons without giving up Towns or Russell. The dream pairing of Towns and Simmons finally forms while Ben can also be reunited with his old high school teammate in Russell. This is a young trio that would actually be able to win games in the regular season. Ultimately, that's all they're looking for up in Minnesota. Lastly, Simmons can decide whether or not to repair his shot far away from all those Philly fans who are always too mean to him. It's a no pressure situation!
Why Toronto does it...
The stubborn Raptors will lose Lowry for nothing in free agency if they don't move him in a sign-and-trade. Instead they elect to give in and take this trade, replacing him with two veteran point guards on expiring contracts. They also trim Boucher's expiring contract. While they will be reluctant to do this, they'll get a cheaper and 7 years younger player at the same position in Naz Reid. They also add the Sixers 28th pick as a sweetener to seal the deal.
Why Philadelphia does it...
1. The Sixers replace Simmons with a young guard who can score and create in the half court. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a star in the making who is ready to take a leap. In fact, he is already making that leap, averaging a very efficient 23.7 points per game in 2020-21 (0.623 TS%). This is the type of guard that we should think about pairing with Embiid. It upgrades our offense now and opens up a new longer term window with SGA's name in it.
2. The Sixers also add Lowry, who fits directly into the "win now" portion of this trade. He only has a couple of years left in the tank, but the Sixers want to bring Lowry in to have a similar impact to what Chris Paul has done in Phoenix. Lowry will be the perfect veteran to usher in and be replaced by Maxey, who would eventually start next to SGA.
3. The Sixers also add a stretch big man who can rim protect in Chris Boucher. This is still a position of need, so adding this player simplifies the rest of the offseason. Having Chris Boucher and Paul Reed together would instantly improve the Sixers bench big man situation. Both can play the 4 and 5 positions. Both can defend.
4. The Sixers don't generate any new cap space from the final iteration of this traded, but they exchange 2 players for 3, and those 3 players will help the team win immediately.
In conclusion, I believe this trade helps all four teams involved. The Timberwolves replace a potential future all-star with a current all-star, one who pairs well with their best player. The Thunder fine tune the timeline of their rebuild. The Raptors trim the salaries of players they may lose for nothing. They also add some optionality and youth. And the Sixers re-tool while also continuing to build properly around Embiid.
The starting lineup and bench would look something like this:
Lowry - SGA - Thybulle - Harris - Embiid
Maxey - Milton - Curry - Boucher - Reed
This roster still lacks size on the wing, so some tweaking may be needed. I would love a Curry + Milton trade for Joe Ingles, with an Isaiah Joe promotion to the backup 2 spot. But that opens an entirely new tangent on this conversation, so we'll stop at this 3 guard bench lineup, similar to what we saw used this past season.
I'd love to see what other people think about this trade idea!