Sixers: Realistic Ben Simmons trade targets

Sixers, Ben Simmons Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Sixers, Ben Simmons Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Realistic Ben Simmons trades: Sixers acquire Zach LaVine

This is the trade the 76ers probably should’ve sought back before the deadline. Zach LaVine emerged as a bonafide star this year, averaging a career high in points (27.4), assists (4,9), rebounds (5.0), and 3-point percentage (.419). Back then, we probably could’ve made this trade happen for Ben Simmons and LaVine straight up plus salary filler, but Simmons’ value has dropped while LaVine’s has risen since then. Right now, this might not even be enough to get LaVine, who has shown this year that he is one of the league’s premiere scorers and seems ready to compete for a championship now.

The Bulls only consider this trade if they decide that this iteration of the team isn’t working (it isn’t). After making a huge deadline deal to bring Nikola Vucevic to Chicago, the Bulls finished the season 31-41 and didn’t even make the play-in tournament in the East. They went 12-17 after the trade and the fit between Lavine and Vucevic seemed clunky at best. This trade allows them to hit the reset button while maintaining a competitive roster.

Simmons should be a solid fit next to Vucevic, who can cover for some of Simmons’ shortcomings by stretching the floor while Simmons helps bring some defensive chops to a team that badly needs it. The Bulls can try to recoup some of the scoring they lose with Shake Milton, who has shown in flashes that he’s capable of handling a heavier load on offense. Milton is also on a very team friendly contract, making just under $4 million over the next two seasons with a team option in 2022-23.

The benefits for the Sixers are obvious. Zach LaVine is the ideal number two scorer, able to work with the ball in his hands when Embiid is off the court but active enough off-ball to keep the defense honest when Embiid is working in the post. LaVine’s presence would give the Sixers three lethal shooters in their starting five with Curry and Harris, and would allow Harris to serve as the team’s number three scorer, a role he seems better suited for. Meanwhile, the Sixers solve another of their biggest issues by bringing back Thaddeus Young to serve as their backup big. Young, who just turned 33 and spent his first seven seasons in Philadelphia, showed this year that he still has a lot left in the tank and can be a solid contributor. If the Bulls bite on this the Sixers would be a fool not to take it, simply because of how seamless the on court fit would be.