There’s obviously been some talk about the Philadelphia 76ers moving off three-time All-Star point guard Ben Simmons after a disastrous playoff performance from the enigmatic player.
Up until now, a lot of the talk has surrounded the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors as prime destinations for the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalist.
With that said, there’s now some rumors pointing to a dark-horse candidate in that of the San Antonio Spurs out west.
“Can I tell you my sneakiest team? Just purely putting puzzle pieces together — San Antonio is just tailor-made for a bunch of stuff for one guy, throw some things at the wall move,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe indicated recently. “Like why not just say here’s some, here’s some veterans who complement Simmons, here’s some draft picks.”
This could actually make a lot of sense for both sides depending on Ben Simmons’ trade value and whether San Antonio finally comes to the conclusion that its core group is not a title contender after missing out on the playoffs each of the past two seasons.
As with any potential Simmons trade scenario, it’s all about his perceived value on the trade block and the 76ers’ asking price. There’s no concrete information when it comes to both of those backstories.
What we do know is that the Spurs need to change things up under an aging Gregg Popovich while Simmons is not a No. 2 player on a championship contender given the way Philadelphia’s roster is constructed with Joel Embiid leading the charge. Below, we look at three ways Simmons can land in San Antonio.
Ben Simmons for DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade
This is complicated by the fact that DeRozan is set to hit free agency and Philadelphia is currently over the cap. NBA rules indicate that Philadelphia would have to get under the cap if it were to pull off a sign-and trade. Right now, it is an estimated $19 million over the cap. With that said, there’s some wriggle room for 76ers front office head Daryl Morey. Lowe touched on that, too.
It would require DeRozan taking less than the max in a contract with the 76ers sending George Hill and another piece back to San Antonio. From there, other moving parts would have to head back to Philadelphia.
- Spurs get: Ben Simmons, George Hill, Anthony Tolliver
- 76ers get: DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson, first-round pick
Traditional Ben Simmons trade to the San Antonio Spurs
Getting out of the complexities surrounding a sign-and-trade, there’s a scenario here that suggests Philadelphia would be willing to take on a few nice young pieces to work behind Embiid and Tobias Harris moving forward. It wouldn’t give the Sixers two true stars, but Simmons has not acted that part in each of the past two seasons, either.
For San Antonio, the idea would be to add Simmons to the mix with DeRozan re-signing and another starter-caliber player joining the organization. Remember, the Spurs are projected to be $53 million under the cap. It would be a win-now move for the 72-year-old Popovich as he enters the twilight of his career.
- Spurs get: Ben Simmons
- 76ers get: Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Devin Vassell
Three-team Ben Simmons trade
Perhaps, the best way this might work out is for the Spurs and 76ers to find a third team to take on a couple of San Antonio’s young players. In this scenario, said third team is enticed by a draft pick or two from San Antonio. The likes of Murray, White, Vassell and even Keldon Johnson would have value for a rebuilding squad.
In turn, the 76ers are able to add a true No. 2 option behind Embiid while enabling Harris to play more of that quasi-star role. It’s pure conjecture here, but the New Orleans Pelicans could make sense. There’s been some thought given to the idea that they might look to move All-Star forward Brandon Ingram and find a better fit next to Zion Williamson. We also know that front office head David Griffin likes himself some draft picks. Here’s a scenario that could work.
- Spurs get: Ben Simmons
- Pelicans get: Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, first-round pick from Spurs, second-rounder from Sixers
- 76ers get: Brandon Ingram