Every Single Team In The NBA Should Be Trying To Trade For Ben Simmons

We've reached a point where the memes and jokes have taken over as the primary facts about Ben Simmons. Even when I had my show, and would often chirp the 76ers, I always coupled that by ranking Simmons among the top players in the League, saying he was worthy of All Star appearances and All NBA selections. Because, and this is going to be a lot for people to process, you can do both. You can mock Ben Simmons for his lack of consistent jumper, the fact that he uses his wrong hand to play the game that got him selected first overall many moons ago, and dump on the 76ers as a whole for underperforming while admitting, in a vacuum, he's still a really good player. How good of a player he is, and how much more space there is between that player and his ultimate ceiling, are two different thoughts too often conflated with one another.

There's something to be said for a franchise believing in its players. There's more to it than doling out contracts worth generational wealth. As I keep stirring on the Simmons saga the name that keeps popping up in my head is Victor Oladipo. Prior to landing in Indiana, Oladipo was largely viewed as a bust of a second overall pick by the Orlando Magic. He was fine, decent player, stuck on an organization that has no worldly idea what it's doing. Then he was traded to Oklahoma City, where he never quite fit and averaged the second least amount of points per game of his career to that point (the worst being his rookie campaign). The Thunder immediately shipped him off to Indiana, where the Pacers sat him down upon arrival, and laid out their beliefs in his abilities. What came next was the best two seasons of his career, amounting in two All Star appearances before he suffered an injury he really never recovered from. Isaiah Thomas spoke similarly of the Boston Celtics when they acquired him from the Phoenix Suns. Being given the keys to a franchise, having faith from the entire team behind you - from the owners to the last man on the bench - can do a lot for someone's mentality. 

Now, that's all well and good. Very Disney Channel original movie type shit. That somehow the magical power of belief can turn any scrub into a Hall of Famer. I don't know Ben Simmons, maybe he doesn't give as much of a shit. Maybe he's perfectly content being an All Defensive caliber point guard who doesn't want to take 15 shots a game. That's still an absurdly good player a smart team with a great coach can figure out how to utilize to his fullest potential. What he probably doesn't need is Doc Rivers throwing him under the bus the second the season comes to a screeching halt. A long standing point has been that Simmons and Joel Embiid can't win together, I'm begrudgingly starting to agree. Not because I don't think it can work basketball wise, but I don't know who can win with a center that can't play four quarters a night. Even against the Hawks, Embiid was air balling layups in consecutive fourth quarters because of how gassed he was. Simmons could have been more assertive, no doubt, he is far from blameless for their failures. Acting as if he has been their only problem feels...misguided. Perhaps not trading away hometown hero Mikal Bridges for literally nothing wasn't a good idea. I'm just spitballing here.

The 76ers have made it clear they're going to trade Simmons this summer. There are reports bubbling that they want it done as early as tonight. He's a 25-year old, three-time All Star locked in to a max contract. The asking price is, rightfully, high. That should not deter teams from going after him. Every team in the League, especially those who have trouble signing big time free agents, should be constantly badgering the 76ers until they relent. The 76ers are asking for a "Harden-esque" package in return for their young controllable All Star. Which means somewhere in the neighborhood of three first rounders and a handful of pick swaps. Which, if this unknown team is smarter than Philadelphia, those pick swaps could ultimately mean nothing. So three picks. I'm sure the Lakers would do that in a heartbeat. The Trailblazers might be able to trump everyone simply by putting Damian Lillard on the table. The Atlanta Hawks could offer an interesting mix of young roles players and picks to pair Simmons with Trae Young. Golden State and their collection of... stuff... would be fascinating to see how Simmons would look surrounded by the two best shooters of this era. If Minnesota has any plans to keep Karl-Anthony Towns around for the long term, they probably wont have a better opportunity present itself any time soon.


He may not be the generational talent we were promised coming out of LSU. He's not Luka, he's not Giannis, he is very much a level below that. Which, despite the reports, is still an extremely good basketball player worthy of every front office's attention at this very moment in time.