As the Philadelphia 76ers move forward with the 2021-22 season, there is still the subject of the Ben Simmons saga that needs to be understood in order to truly fight for a title while Joel Embiid is still on his feet and in his prime.
Considering the Simmons saga and all the other adversities thrown at them, the Sixers sit solidly at 19-16, but it’s clear they need this Simmons situation resolved to fight. Either they have to make peace with him and bring him back, or they finally move him for a player who can help them win right now.
The Sixers maintained they wanted a Top 25 player in any Simmons trade in order to help Embiid get the job done in the playoffs. However, the idea of having a guy like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal might be out of the question, so the Sixers might have to move on.
John Hollinger of The Athletic has a new fictitious trade that requires the Sixers to move Simmons to the Indiana Pacers:
Let me toss another one (a tip of the hat to my colleague Seth Partnow for noting this possibility): what about Domantas Sabonis, Chris Duarte and TJ Warren in Philly for Simmons, Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe? The salaries match, and there’s a lot to like here for both teams.
Sabonis is an odd fit with Embiid but can actually throw an entry pass unlike most other Sixers; it would also let the Sixers thrive in the non-Embiid minutes they’re currently trucked in and provide a store of value for future deals during the offseason. (Sabonis is 25, made two all-star teams, and signed for two more years at a very reasonable price of $ 20 million per person. He can be the core of a bold name deal if and when. he is available.)
Warren, if in good health, would be a major improvement for the Sixers bench that they could re-sign with the rights to Bird (if they can afford the luxury tax bill that would result); this could position the team to possibly rescind Tobias Harris’ deal. Duarte, meanwhile, is likely an upgrade from the questionable production of spare wings that the Sixers have had from other sources, although the Pacers would likely fight against its inclusion (“May we interest you in a Goga Bitadze lightly used? “).
We can see where Hollinger is going here. Sabonis is an All-Star player and while the aforementioned fit is questionable, at least he can play it on the perimeter and perform hi-low with Embiid. Sabonis would also help the Sixers with the rebound issue they are currently facing, but the issue would be the offensive side spacing as he is a career 31.4% deep shooter.
The Pacers may want to rejuvenate by acquiring Joe who is two years younger than Duarte despite not yet being a rotating player. Warren would also be a big help on the bench once he returns from his foot injury.
Verdict: Ultimately, it’s hard to see the Sixers pulling the trigger on this deal. The Sixers value Simmons, and it’s hard to see them settle for anything less than a top player to pair up with Embiid in order to take on the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.
This post originally appeared on Sixers wire! follow us on Facebook!
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