As many others did, I immediately rejected the idea that there could be an acceptable deal swapping Ben Simmons for John Wall or Kristaps Porzingis. Then, I decided to check to see what such deals might look like.
I first looked at the Wall deal, assuming it had to be much more than a straight up swap. When I saw that Wall's salary is $11 million more than Ben's, I realized that I simple deal of Wall plus for Simmons wouldn't work due to finances. A straight up swap is off by about $3 million. But, players from Philly to cover the $3 million would make the deal even more one-sided for Houston. Their owner would love it! But, Philly would never even entertain it.
But, let's look a little deeper. I think an acceptable deal can be devised. The Sixers' resulting roster would be:
Center: Embiid, Drummond, Bassey
Power Foward: Christian Wood, Niang, Reed
Small Forward: Green, Thybulle, Korkmaz
Shooting Guard: Curry, Jalen Green, Joe
Point Guard: John Wall, Maxey, Josh Christopher
Outgoing Salary: $72.8 million
Incoming Salary: $69.2 Million (saving $3.6 million)
This leaves the Sixers about $3 million over the tax line. The Sixers would be subject to the tax repeater penalty, as well.
Christian Wood is a valuable player who should improve and is on a good contract.
Josh Christopher is compared to Norman Powel by NBADraft.net. They say of him, "A top shelf athlete who showcases the power and explosiveness to immediately translate to the next level … Versatile guard who can handle the ball effectively enough to run the offense at the 1 but also move to 2 or 3 with the size and strength to play off the ball … Elite potential as a playmaking guard who could also take over games with his scoring at all three levels" Sounds like he is ready to play this year.
Jalen Green was the second pick in this year's draft. NBADraft.net compares him to Bradley Beal and Zach Lavine and suggests he could lead a team in scoring in his rookie year. Evidently, he is ready to play this year and has a very high upside. Many would desire trading Simmons for Beal or Lavine. Jalen Green might be the next best thing.
I believe this roster can compete for the title this year and will only become more competitive in each coming year as Maxey, Thybulle, Niang, Reed, Joe, Bassey, Wood, J. Green, and Christopher improve with experience. Wall is an injury risk, but Maxey, Christopher and J. Green offer plenty of insurance. Wall is a much better fit on offense than Simmons. He is a playmaker and multi-level scorer who actually takes 3 pointers. His contract, though awful, runs for 2 years, expiring right when Embiid's supermax years begin.
To acquire this roster, the Sixers give up Simmons, Harris, Milton and Springer. Simmons has to go. Harris is on a bad contract. Milton really shouldn't play point guard, has inadequate defense and may have peaked. Springer is not ready to contribute this year. Also, 46 3 pointers are not enough to convince me he can shoot 3s at a high level. Christopher is iffy, as well, but NBADraft.net says, "He shot 12-25 over his last six full games to show that he has the potential to shoot far better than his 30% season average suggest from behind the arc" and he shot 80% from the foul line.
Further, I believe that due to Walls' injury risk, age, and absurd contract, the Sixers might be able to receive draft pick compensation as well. I would ask for Milwaukee's and Brooklyn's 2023 1st round picks. These will be late picks. Also, Houston would still have their own 2022 and 2023 1st round picks. 2023 also happens to be the year Walls' contract expires creating a spot on the roster. At the same time, Embiid's supermax kicks in meaning cheap rookie contracts will be all the more appreciated.
Finally, Andre Drummond is the only player on the resultant roster with an expiring contract. This roster can be held nearly intact for 2022-2023. Such continuity is rare in today's NBA. The Sixers would benefit greatly from the player familiarity with each other, the coaching staff, the plays, and the defensive schemes it would bring.
I think this is not only an acceptable deal for the Sixers, bit is an excellent deal for the Sixers, especially if it comes with 1 or 2 1st round picks. I would do it even without the picks.
Next post: Porzingis can work, too