Solutions for The Sixers' Ben Simmons Problem

Trading Ben Simmons is easy as pie. I believe there are six or seven clubs with whom the Sixers can make a good deal for Simmons, if only one can recognize what a good deal is.

There are 5 things the Sixers might want from a Simmons deal: 1) a point guard good enough to allow the Sixers to contend for a championship this year, 2) a point guard good enough to allow the Sixers to contend for a championship next year and beyond, 3) draft assets sufficient to acquire said point guard in 1 or 2 before the season or by the trade deadline; 4) draft assets sufficient to draft a Simmons replacement in the next draft; 5) sufficient financial relief to allow the Sixers to pursue a free agent point guard next offseason. According to reports, the Sixers, so far, have only considered number 1 above. But, in the event that the first goal cannot be realized, a trade accomplishing one or more of the other goals will be the best deal.

It is important to realize that the Sixers need 2 point guards once Simmons departs. They need a point guard to start ahead of Maxey or share time with Maxey, and they need a backup point guard behind those two. Last year, the Sixers learned that Shake Milton really shouldn't play point guard at all. He is strictly a scoring/shooting guard. Last year, the Sixers had Simmons, Milton, Maxey, Hill and sometimes Curry play point guard. If an incoming guard plays Simmons' minutes and if Maxey takes Milton's minutes plus his own, that still leaves Curry's and Hill's minutes to be filled. Springer is not ready to take on anything but blow out minutes. So, a third point guard is needed, especially in the case of injury.

The Sixers have to realize that their top point guard position this year other than Maxey, may be someone to help them contend for a title this year; someone to start in front of Maxey, allowing Maxey time to grow into the position; someone to share minutes with Maxey; someone to back up Maxey. And, of course they will need that all important 3rd point guard.

It is also important to realize that a point guard may not even be obtainable in a Simmons trade. The receiving team may well view Simmons as a power forward and will continue to need their own point guard.

There are many trades that might be available that would return a guard allowing for championship contention. First, before the draft, Indiana offered Malcolm Brogdon and the 13th pick in this year's draft (G Chris Duarte). I believe this was an unsolicited offer, meaning it was certainly not their best offer. It was an invitation to negotiate which it seems was not accepted -€” no negotiation followed. Another reason to suspect that this was not Indiana's best offer is that the money doesn't work. Being over the cap. Indiana would have to send out at least 80% of Ben's $33 million salary, or $26.5 million. Brogdon's salary is only $21.7 million. The 13th pick's salary is $3.7 million. Together the salaries are at least $1 million short. My guess is that Indiana may have accepted a deal that additionally included their 54th pick in the recent draft plus their 1st round pick in 2024. This deal might work depending on how the salaries for the 54th pick and a future 1st are handled. If not, a Keifer Sykes or Terry Taylor could be included simply to make the money work. Or, Shake Milton could be added by the Sixers in return for Brogdon, Duarte, the 2024 1st round pick and F Isaiah Jackson. Such deals procure the Sixers a starting point guard who allows them to compete for a championship this year as well as a guard, Duarte, who may be more ready to play this year than Springer. That is the trade accomplishes goal 1, goal 2, brings in the 3rd point guard, and maybe rids the Sixers of one of their worst defenders, Shake Milton. If this deal can be done now, I would do it simply to put an end to the Ben Simmons situation which I am sure would be good for the locker room.

Second, I believe the Raptors expressed interest in Simmons. They can also supply a point guard for competing this year, Goran Dragic. Ben Simmons for Dragic and Scottie Barnes, this year's 4th draft pick works financially. If the Sixers add Milton and the Raptors add Malachi Flynn, then money works, too. Supposedly, Scottie Barnes' defensive ceiling is close to Simmons current level including being able to cover 1 through 5. Malachi Flynn would be the Sixers 3rd point guard. If the Raptors are willing to part with Barnes, a deal could be arranged perhaps including some draft picks for balance. This deal accomplishes goal 1, but not goal 2 unless the Sixers resign Dragic. However, if the Sixers cannot resign Dragic, the Sixers payroll would be just $13 million over this year's cap. Without Green's contract and including a bump in the cap, next year the Sixers would be under the cap and able to go after any free agent they desire. So, either goals 1 and 2 are accomplished or goals 1 and 5 are. Further, Scottie Barnes is a power forward. Thus, his progression neatly dovetails with replacing Harris in a year or two, freeing even more financial assets. This is certainly a scenario the Sixers could live with. Later, I will mention a different way the Sixers may be able to acquire Goran Dragic. The Raptors might do this deal if they consider Simmons to be a power forward as his presence would block Barnes and they have Van Fleet to play point guard.

Third, if Portland even wants Simmons, they could swap CJ McCollum and picks to the Sixers. The money works and McCollum has a 3 year contract, accomplishing goals 1 and 2.

Fourth, Cleveland may be interested in Simmons. I believe they have ruled out trading Darius Garland. But, perhaps, Collin Sexton could be included in a deal for Simmons. Sexton is the last point guard that I think may be available who can help the Sixers compete this year. The problem with going for Sexton, other than his availability, is making the money work. Sexton is under contract for only $6.3 million. Acquiring Ricky Rubio would give the Sixers their 3 point guards, but adding his $17.8 million contract still leaves Cleveland a little short of balancing Ben's contract, especially if Milton is included to fill out Cleveland's back court. It could be done, but not easily. If Sexton can be resigned, this deal would accomplish goals 1 and 2 as well as supply the Sixers with 3 point guards. Additionally, Rubio's contract is also expiring meaning that the Sixers could find themselves under the cap and ready to bid for free agents next year, goal 5. If Cleveland's 2022 1st round pick and their 3 2022 2nd round picks are included, the Sixers may have enough to go after a better point guard if one becomes available during the season.

If Cleveland balks at trading Sexton, I am sure they would relent if the Sixers solved Cleveland's Love problem. Usually, when a team takes on such a contract such as Love's, they are paid a bit extra for the trouble rather than having to pay for the bad contract. Simmons for Love, Sexton and picks may be to good for Cleveland to refuse. This would work for the Sixers as Love would be a back up stretch 4 for Harris, freeing Niang and Reed to play more minutes at small forward, pushing Thybulle and Korkmaz to taking on more minutes at shooting guard, making Milton expendable. I have little doubt a deal along these lines could be worked out, especially considering that Love's contract only has 2 years left, after which the Sixers would be well under the cap and able to pursue free agents.

There are other ways to acquire a lead guard for competing this year. Such a guard could be acquired after Simmons is moved to another team. These next few deals implement this strategy.

Fifth, the Sacramento Kings have expressed interest in Simmons but have ruled out trading Haliburton or Fox. Most likely, the Kings don't want to include them because they consider Ben to be a power forward, not a point guard. But, the Sixers don't need Fox or Haliburton to be included. The Kings also have Davion Mitchell, the 9th pick in this year's draft. He looks to be prepared to play this year, unlike Springer, and could serve as the Sixers' third point guard. A Kings deal would probably include Bagley and either Barnes or Hield to make the money work. The Kings have a 1st and 3 second round picks in the next draft. A deal can definitely be found, after which Bagley and/or Barnes could be flipped for a point guard such as Goran Dragic, as the Raptors appear a bit light at center and Dragic no longer fits their time line. After securing Dragic or similar guard, this sequence of deals accomplishes goals 1 and 2 with Tyrese Maxey or Davion Mitchell taking over the lead point guard position 2 years from now as well as supplying a 3rd point guard for this year. Depending on what picks might be included, this sequence may even supply the assets necessary to pursue a big name should one become available.

Sixth, a similar sequence of deals may be possible involving the Timberwolves who have been very interested in Simmons. The Timberwolves have a 1st and 3 second round picks in the upcoming draft. A deal of Simmons for Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverly and picks could work out if the Raptors are interested in a deal based upon Beasley and Dragic.

If none of the above work out, then the Sixers are stuck just trying to survive this year rather than truly competing. They probably make the playoffs anyway, but without a Dragic, Brogdon, Sexton or someone similar, they won't be true contenders for the championship. At this point, the Sixers have to refocus on what they can accomplish instead of obsessing over what they can't accomplish. They need to get two point guards to help Maxey this year, acquire draft picks to acquire a big name that becomes available or to use on a top point guard in the next draft, and set themselves up to pursue free agents. To these ends, they look to making deals with teams that are under the cap so the Sixers need not take back matching salaries and to acquiring point guards that may be able to play this year. Towards these ends, the Sixers would look to deal with the Grizzlies, Orlando, or Oklahoma City.

Seventh, Orlando has tons of picks, PG Cole Anthony and F Franz Wagner. A deal could be made here primarily consisting of draft picks and not necessarily including Wagner. Cole Anthony would be one of two guards required. The Sixers would be under the cap and would have ample picks to satisfy a newly rebuilding team (Washington? Portland?)

Eighth, the Grizzlies have De'Anthony Melton who is young (23) and seems to have come into his own last year, shooting well from 3 point range and being highly efficient. They also have 3 1st round picks in 2022 and 2 in 2024. A deal can be found here to again get under the cap, acquire a usable point guard and get the picks necessary to trade for Beal or Lillard or land a top point guard in the next draft.

Ninth, a desperation deal I really like. Oklahoma City hasn't been mentioned in any rumors as far as I am aware. But, they have a ton of picks. I assume they are accumulated not just for draft purposes but also to acquire star players. Perhaps, the only reason they have not been mentioned is because Morey keeps saying he wants an All Star and picks or, oddly, that he doesn't want picks. Well, he might have to take picks and picks give him the flexibility to acquire a Beal or Lillard, or free agent (picks don't have salaries) or draft a great player or players. I like the following deal: Simmons and Milton to OKC for Tre Mann (this year's 18th pick), Ty Jerome (24th pick in 2019), the Clipper's 2022 1st round pick, Phoenix's 2022 1st round pick, OKC's 2022 2nd round pick, the Clipper's 2024 1st round pick and Denver's 2024 1st round pick. The first round picks will likely all be between 25 and 30. So, they are some of the least valuable 1st round picks. OKC's 2nd round pick is likely to be between 31 and 35. So, it is one of the more valuable 2nd round picks. I would do this deal even if OKC refused to include Tre Mann. This deal puts the Sixers under the cap, acquire a point guard who may be ready to play this year, a shooting guard who is ready to play and may be able to play some point guard minutes, and a ton of draft picks.

Finally, there are certain guards who may be available that the Sixers could pursue if the Simmons deal does not procure 2 point guards. Many of the players mentioned above could be pursued independently of a Simmons trade. Others are Chicago's Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu or Alex Caruso; Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs; Jared Butler of the Utah Jazz. Butler should be ready to play and kills it from 3 point range. I am sure there must be other point guards that can be acquired who can help the Sixers through this season.

Frankly, there is no reason for Simmons to still be on the roster. He should have been traded before the last draft. If he had, any picks acquired would be one year more advanced than any picks acquired now. He also had a higher value at that point. Ben should have been traded before he declared his intention of no longer playing for the Sixers. This brought his value to its lowest point until the season starts. When the league sees that, once again, he has not improved over the summer and he still fears being fouled, his value will finally reach its nadir. If Morey keeps Ben until the season starts and Ben's value reaches it nadir, he will have destroyed the Sixers' chances of winning a championship this year and for years to come. (Perhaps, there is a similar reason for why Houston's owner has such a low opinion of Morey.) People, Morey especially, have to realize that the Sixers are not trading the Simmons before last season, the Simmons of the trade deadline, the Simmons before the Hawks series, or even the Simmons before his declaration of independence. They are trading the Simmons they have now whose value will only depreciate from here while he remains a Sixer. I find it amazing that in the most Capitalist country on earth, people don't understand the concept of market value. When the Sixers trade Ben Simmons, they will receive market value by definition, not 65 cents on the dollar, unless it can be demonstrated that another team was ready to make a better offer. They are not trading a Ben Simmons who has gained a jump shot, a mid range game, a 3 point shot, or free throw competence or any other fantasy Ben Simmons. They are trading the Ben Simmons they have and they are looking for a greater fool. The Sixers have to hope the Morey is not the biggest fool.

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