Sixers: Ranking hypothetical Ben Simmons trade targets

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

The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to explore the Ben Simmons trade market this offseason. While no deal is certain — and patience is a key virtue — it’s clear the Sixers have fielded offers and will continue to do so as the NBA Draft and free agency approach.

Daryl Morey is no fool, and the Sixers will no jettison Simmons away without respectable compensation. Even with his spotty track record in the postseason, Simmons is a 24-year-old with three All-Star appearances, one All-NBA nod, two All-Defense nods, and a Rookie of the Year award on his resume. He’s not a bad contract, or a player the Sixers need to dump for pennies on the dollar.

Plenty of teams have been swirling around the rumor mill, with Golden State, Minnesota, and Portland chief among them. Hypotheticals have covered every corner of the interest, this site included.

In this article, we will rank some of the players commonly tied to Philadelphia in these hypotheticals — tiered and in order, from least desirable to ideal outcome.

Ranking Sixers’ hypothetical Ben Simmons trade targets: Thanks, but no thanks

10. Malik Beasley

The Wolves really want Ben Simmons, but it would have to be a three-team deal. Minnesota wants to keep D’Angelo Russell, there’s no way Anthony Edwards is on the table, and Karl-Anthony Towns is the franchise centerpiece. That leaves Malik Beasley, salary filler, and picks as the core of Minnesota’s offer.

Beasley is no slouch. He averaged 19.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 37 games last season, shooting 39.9 percent on 8.7 attempts per game from deep. The Sixers would benefit from his high volume of 3-pointers, but he’s not a lead playmaker, and replacing Simmons’ ball-handling presence with Ricky Rubio doesn’t exactly excite the imagination.

While Minnesota could theoretically compile enough draft capital to pique Morey’s interest, the Sixers are trying to win a championship right now. Draft picks are great, but they don’t win games. If the Sixers can’t redirect the extra assets elsewhere for a talented lead guard, then the Wolves are simply out of luck.

9. Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton is dope, and maybe one day, this article looks stupid for underestimating him. He averaged 24.3 points on efficient shooting last season and is only 22 years old. That said, his inevitable big-money extension looms large, and there are aspects of Sexton’s game that don’t inherently translate to winning basketball.

In Cleveland, Sexton has had free reign to make mistakes and indulge in black-hole tendencies. He can be a bit of a ball-stopper, to the point where it is rumored other teams make fun of him. Sexton has not proven that he can run a team yet, and the Sixers need someone to run a team, not just score a lot of points. He would need to complement Joel Embiid, not just take up airspace in the starting five.

And, again, this could age poorly. He’s young and works his butt off. He seems like an upstanding human and a guy who wants to compete at the highest level, and he plays with the intensity of a scrappy bench piece, not a lead scorer. That said, given his inability to elevate teammates up to this point, the Sixers should probably stay away.