The Philadelphia 76ers will look to reassert their claim as one of the NBA’s top contenders this offseason. The way to do so, of course, is via trade, with many fans clamoring for the swift departure of Ben Simmons. While the Sixers will be rightfully pragmatic with the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, it does feel like the end is near for Simmons in Philadelphia. There’s too much love lost between him and the fanbase.
As the rumors begin to swirl, meaningful reports have only tied Ben Simmons directly to one franchise — the Golden State Warriors.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Golden State will “make a push” for the three-time All-Star, and on the surface, it makes sense. There is no better basketball fit for Simmons, and the Warriors don’t shy away from blockbuster change.
There is, however, one slight problem — the pieces don’t exactly fit. Unless the Warriors are ready to part with Klay Thompson, or the Sixers are big believers in 31-year-old Draymond Green, then there’s no clear avenue to both sides accepting an offer. It would likely take a third team.
The Sixers and Warriors may not have a deal on the surface, but work at it hard enough, and there are ways to get Ben Simmons to Golden State.
The lack of an easy swap should not dissuade either side, and more often than not, third teams are happy to jump in when there’s chum in the water. Whether it be a rebuilding franchise like OKC, which can absorb Andrew Wiggins’ contract for draft capital, or another contender with assets to spare, there are ways to get Ben Simmons to the Bay if the two sides will it so.
For Golden State, that would mean a generational playmaking talent in the open court, who could have his role tailored around two of the greatest shooters ever to walk the earth. Stephen Curry would take the ball out of Simmons’ hands late in games, while Ben’s defense — especially if he’s next to Draymond Green in smaller groups — would provide a formidable backbone.
Green and Simmons are an awkward fit together, and a trade made inevitably lead to Green’s departure, but even if the Warriors have to brave a strange fit, there’s more than enough value tied up in Ben Simmons to warrant it.