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5 sensible Ben Simmons trades for Cavaliers and more


Jul 15, 2021

Ben Simmons

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Steam is picking up on the Ben Simmons trade rumors, and it doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. Five teams have been directly linked to Simmons; here’s a way each of them can pull off the big move.

According to The New York Times‘ Marc Stein, there are five teams with confirmed interest in a Ben Simmons trade: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors. More teams are expected to join the party too.

This may come as a surprise to Simmons’ biggest detractors, but it looks like there will be a robust market for the 24 year-old. Teams seem pretty bullish on him figuring it out. He’s been bailed out by Joel Embiid’s greatness quite a bit in Philly, but he also seems to shine brightest when Embiid takes a back seat or isn’t out there at all. It’s feasible to think that a new situation, with a roster more catered to him and a fanbase excited to have him, will bring out the best in the No. 1 overall pick from 2016.

Let’s focus on these five teams. How they can (A) acquire Simmons, and (B) satisfy the Philadelphia 76ers‘ needs?

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota has apparently made the strongest push for Simmons. Per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, Gersson Rosas has already engaged with Sixers brass on a potential Simmons trade. Rosas has been aggressive with trades since taking the job in Minnesota, and that fervor doesn’t expect to subside anytime soon.

The Wolves’ interest in Simmons is justified. Karl-Anthony Towns, a dynamic offensive big with a sweet shot, is one of the best frontcourt players you could pair with Simmons. Towns is more than comfortable operating on the perimeter, making the offense clean even with Simmons in the dunker’s spot. Put three capable shooters around those two, and you’re well on your way to an elite offense.

But that’s where the music stops. When you peruse the Wolves’ roster, you’ll find that they’re short on premier trade assets. Towns isn’t on the table for this one. D’Angelo Russell is way worse than Simmons, making him a nonstarter for Philly. Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley’s salaries combine to make the money work, but don’t provide nearly enough value. Their pick in this year’s draft is No. 7, but it belongs to the Golden State Warriors.

Realistically, the Wolves have one player they can dangle to get the Sixers talking: Anthony Edwards, the No. 1 pick from last year’s draft. The brick house 2-guard has a long and bright future ahead of him, making him one of the most coveted young players in the league. With Towns approaching his prime, Edwards’ best value to the Wolves is likely in a trade for a more experienced player.

The Sixers have the same perspective; Embiid’s not waiting around for Edwards either. For Simmons to get to Minnesota, a third team has to get involved: one that can not only satisfy the Sixers’ needs for immediate talent, but also covets Edwards enough to let go of that win-now package.

Enter: the Washington Wizards.

Timberwolves Get

Ben Simmons

Wizards Get

Anthony Edwards

Tyrese Maxey

Ricky Rubio

First round pick in 2021 (via PHI), First round pick in 2022 (via MIN)

This trade is contingent on Washington’s arrival, which there’s been no indication of yet. Neither Beal nor the Wizards have expressed a desire to part ways, and even if they did, that package might not be enough. Edwards put up gaudy scoring numbers in the second half of last season, and Tyrese Maxey could be a starting point guard as soon as next year, but the Wizards might not fancy either of them.

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