A Ben Simmons trade is a foregone conclusion, but as the 76ers’ options dwindle we’re digging deep to look for other fun possibilities.
The 76ers are eventually going to make a Ben Simmons trade — that much has seemed certain for weeks. But exactly what they’ll get and where he’ll land (and how much everyone will sacrifice to make it happen) remains to be seen.
At this point, everyone’s initial favorite destinations — the Warriors and Trail Blazers — are out. The Rockets are too busy trying to trade John Wall, which isn’t really possible to get involved in a workable Simmons deal. And while the Raptors, Cavaliers, Spurs Timberwolves and Kings are all reportedly engaged in trade talks with the 76ers, none of those teams seems willing to offer up the kind of package the 76ers are looking for.
So, considering the 76ers’ hopes and declining leverage, and the fact that they haven’t found a partner yet among the teams everyone has linked them with, I went looking for other possibilities.
Here are three deep-cut Ben Simmons trade scenarios that are fun to imagine
The Pelicans are in a tough spot, having just hired a new coach and already feeling the clock ticking on Zion Williamson‘s free agency. Obviously, the front office would at least want to take his temperature on any deal to make sure it was helping their cause. But if Zion liked this idea and wanted a shake-up, it would certainly alter the Pelicans’ trajectory.
Ben Simmons would be a great defensive complement for Zion in the frontcourt, especially in small ball lineups. And the nature of his offensive skills could look more complementary than threatening. Maxey is another backcourt player ready to take on a larger role and he could help convince Zion that this young roster is building towards something he’ll want to stay and be a part of.
Ingram is a potent scorer but shakier on defense and his value may be ultimately diminished as Zion takes on more and more offensive primacy. With the 76ers, Ingram could add plenty of shooting and additional creation, helping anchor bench units and creating a nice starting forward tandem with Tobias Harris. This would necessitate moving Shake Milton into the starting point guard slot which opens a hole with Maxey heading out as well. Kira Lewis didn’t play much for the Pelicans as a rookie but he’s a lottery pick with a lottery upside and projects to be a much better fit with his shooting touch than Maxey.