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Evaluating Each Rumored Destination For Ben Simmons

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Not that this is all surprising since everyone with a brain knew that Daryl Morey was going to shop around a key piece of The Process that the Sixers spent years of losing on purpose in order to acquire. Doesn't mean Ben Simmons is for sure traded but it sure as shit makes things awkward for that locker room if he isn't. After the coach and best player threw him under the bus, that's a dicey situation so matter how you slice it. I've said it in previous blogs, but I'm not someone who thinks Ben Simmons has no value to the rest of the league. That's taking things too far. I also don't think his value is as high as it was 6 months ago when you were having conversations for a player like James Harden. It's pretty obvious that point guard is an area of need for the Sixers, and Morey had been adamant that he wants an All Star caliber player in return. That's all fine and good, but just because he wants it doesn't mean he's going to get it.

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With Marc Stein now reporting an initial list of teams that are interested, some are surprises and some are teams we've heard in previous rumors. All have something to offer, so let's take a look at each. Remember, Simmons makes $33M next season, so you have to get they money close.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Something tells me the Sixers aren't going to be interested in Kevin Love's $31M, so to see them listed as a potential team is a little confusing since they do not have a salary over $13M next year….yet. You see, they could always sign and trade with Collin Sexton, another player who is rumored to be on his way out. While Sexton isn't exactly a proven All Star just yet, he certainly has the potential to one day get there. If you do a S&T that gets his salary closer to Simmons' number, it would only takesome small contract fill in plus picks. 

From the Sixers side, while Sexton isn't anywhere close to the defender or event he passer that Simmons is, there's no denying it's a massive upgrade offensively. We know Sexton isn't afraid to shoot, he can make threes, and he was "decent" in P&R offense last year averaging 0.92 points per possession shooting 45% and falling in the 64th percentile. Playing with the Sixers roster rather than the Cavs probably helps those numbers. 

Indiana Pacers

This is a team we've heard about before, knowing that Morey turned down Malcolm Brogdon and a 1st for Simmons. Brogdon is one of those guys who puts up legit numbers (21/5/5) but he isn't an "All Star", he's a little older, and the injury concerns are definitely real. You never take your first offer so it wasn't surprising that Morey turned him down, but from a skillset standpoint Brogdon does provide what the Sixers need. There's just a ton of risk of trading one of your franchise players for a older guy who can't stay healthy and has foot injuries. 

I do wonder if they could adjust their package to surround someone like Caris LeVert, another quality player but non All Star since Danny Green is probably on his way out. The issue there is he only makes $17.5M, so there's a ways to go in order to make the money work. Maybe Morey comes back around to the Pacers if he has no other options, but I wouldn't bank on it.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Another team we heard about last week, while they do have contracts to make this work without including someone like D'Angelo Russell, why would the Sixers do that? They don't want Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley. The risk there is DLo and KAT are best friends, and the trio of DLo/Edwards/KAT showed some signs to end last season. I'm not sure trading for Simmons makes them that much better, even though they could use his defense. I think it's more important they see what they have with that trio, keep KAT happy and maybe take a leap into the play in conversation next year.

If I'm the Sixers, I definitely ask for DLo though. He's young, he's been an All Star, and while he's primarily a scoring guard his playmaking isn't terrible. The defense is gross so that's not great, but from an individual talent perspective that might be as close as Morey gets to a player who has made an All Star team that's supposedly interested.

Toronto Raptors

This was an interesting team to hear about because it's pretty obvious what this move would be. A sign and trade for Kyle Lowry. He's a free agent, maybe he signs like a 3/90 extension or some shit and goes back home to Philly. Shit, you could argue the Sixers should have tried to trade for him this season. He fits from a talent perspective, he can defend and is a good playmaker while being a proven winner. 

The Raptors entertain this idea because it prevents them from losing Lowry for nothing. Even if the fit may not be the best due to spacing, you figure that shit out later. It's not like we see a ton of Top 25 young players begging to join the Raptors, so this would give them one who is locked in long term. If in a few years they feel Simmons might pull a Kawhi, you can always flip him. 

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Would the Sixers want to give up Ben Simmons for a player who is already 35? That doesn't seem ideal even if he does help you now. We're talking about a 10 year age difference there. I'm not sure that makes total sense for them to do, even though it's intriguing.

Sacramento Kings

I'm going to go ahead and assume the Kings are not about to flip De'Aaron Fox for Ben Simmons, and there currently is not an All Star on this roster. What they do have is someone like Buddy Hield (23M) and you can figure out the filler/picks after that. Honestly the same is true for Harrison Barnes, but Hield has more years left on his deal so he'd probably be the one to go. He gives the Sixers elite shooting to replace Green, but absolutely nothing defensively. We've heard the Kings are open for business this offseason, and absolutely nobody is choosing to go to SAC in free agency, so to bring in a talent like Simmons they are going to have to trade for it. 

A lineup of Fox/Haliburton/Barnes/Simmons/Holmes could be feisty when talking about a potential play in spot, but you'd have to convince Simmons to be a PF, something I'm not sure he's ready to do since he fancies himself a point guard.

The issue here is again, from the Sixers side, I'm not sure I'm thrilled to trade Ben Simmons for a package headlined by Buddy Hield. Maybe I'm wrong and the Kings will do Kings things and decide they just want Haliburton to run the show, but who would think a Haliburton/Simmons backcourt is better than Fox/Haliburton? That would be so Kings.

So as you can see, based on the teams we're hearing about to start this process, there aren't a ton of great options. If DLo is off the table, is Collin Sexton the best package? The Cavs picks might be high enough to make it worth it since they are young and rebuilding, but none of those teams really blow you away. At that point you probably just keep Simmons and hope things magically aren't a disaster next season. Good luck.