Top 5 Destinations for Ben Simmons
Another year, another disappointing playoff loss for the Philadelphia 76ers. After securing the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Doc Rivers’ squad was upset by the Atlanta Hawks in shocking fashion.
The major talking point coming out of this failure has been the future of guard Ben Simmons. After finishing second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, the multi-time All-Star shrank in the playoffs.
Not only was Simmons unwilling to take jump shots, but his free throw shooting throughout the playoffs was also truly shocking. This meant that the nominal point guard couldn’t run the point for the offense for fear of being intentionally sent to the line. Combine this with his lack of outside shooting ability, all he could do was sit in the dunker’s spot and clog up the paint for one of the NBA’s best low post players, Joel Embiid.
All of this has seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for the Embiid-Simmons era in Philadelphia. Simmons clearly needs a fresh start and the Sixers need to find a better fit around their franchise player, Joel Emiid.
In fact, some betting sites have posted odds on where Simmons will be traded to over the course of the offseason.
According to PointsBet, the top 5 trade destinations for Simmons are:
Portland Trail Blazers: +250
Washington Wizards: +300
San Antonio Spurs: +450
Utah Jazz: +550
Oklahoma City Thunder: +550
Portland Trail Blazers (+250)
This has been the most discussed landing spot for Simmons since the Sixers’ elimination. On paper, it makes sense. Portland is in a similar position as Philadelphia. They are trying to build a contender around Damian Lillard while he is still in his prime, just as the Sixers are trying to do with Embiid. And like Philly, multiple playoff exits are causing the Blazers to rethink how their roster is constructed.
A CJ McCollum for Ben Simmons swap would make a lot of sense. McCollum would provide much-needed spacing for Embiid to operate down low, while Simmons would be able to play off of Damian Lillard instead of being the offense’s primary initiator.
Portland could even throw in former Sixer Robert Covington to sweeten the pot for Philly and replace some of the defense they’d lose from giving up Simmons.
Washington Wizards (+300)
Sixers fans reading this undoubtedly have dreams of Bradley Beal coming to Philly to be the Robin to Embiid’s Batman. At one point a Simmons-Beal swap would have made some sense as a one-for-one move.
However, the disastrous playoff performance of Simmons has most likely affected his trade value. If Philly wants to pry Bradley Beal away from the nation’s capital, they will probably have to include at least one talented young player - like Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle - and draft capital.
San Antonio Spurs (+450)
Could Gregg Popovich see Ben Simmons as a buy-low project? The Spurs certainly have a history of taking offensively limited players and teaching them how to shoot. Kawhi Leonard famously turned from a one-dimensional defensive stopper to one of the league’s best scorers under the tutelage of Pop and shooting coach Chip Engelland. And with DeMar DeRozan rumored to be considering leaving San Antonio in free agency, the Spurs need a franchise player to build around.
But how they could swing it is another question. San Antonio has some solid young pieces including guards Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, and Derrick White. Packaging one or two of these players with draft capital could be a bargain for the uber-talented Simmons.
For Philadelphia, this might be a bit of a tough sell, though. While these are nice young pieces, I’m not sure they get the Sixers anywhere closer to a title. Perhaps a three-team deal could help facilitate Simmons’ move to the Lone Star State.
Utah Jazz (+550)
Yet another franchise stuck at the very good, but not great level, the Utah Jazz could be a potential home for Ben Simmons. Featuring their very own defensive standout who shrinks in the playoffs in Rudy Gobert, the Jazz may need to shake things up this offseason.
While Donovan Mitchell makes a lot of sense as an Embiid sidekick, the Jazz are unlikely to give up on their franchise player unless he forces his way out. Additionally, Gobert makes zero sense on the Sixers next to Embiid.
A three-team trade could see Gobert end up somewhere else while the Jazz acquire Simmons, and the Sixers get Embiid a proper running mate.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+550)
OKC has a ton of young players and a staggering amount of draft capital over the next few seasons after trading away Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Chris Paul. They also have recently traded for aging point guard Kemba Walker, who doesn’t exactly fit with what they’re trying to do.
While the Thunder seemingly already have their franchise player in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Simmons could fit nicely next to him. They’re as close to a blank slate as you can get in today’s NBA and could mold the team around their two building blocks. For a rebuilding team like the Thunder, buying low on an extremely talented young player like Simmons is logical.
Perhaps Walker and some first round picks could end up in Philly in exchange for Simmons. This would give the Sixers a real point guard for the first time in years, while also replenishing some of their lost draft capital.