The Washington Wizards are the latest team to be involved in Ben Simmons trade rumors. Sam Amick over at The Athletic reported Wednesday that Washington has joined the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors as the favorites to land the All-Star from the Philadelphia 76ers.
This is somewhat of an interesting turn in that star Wizards guard Bradley Beal is contemplating a trade request of his own. While a Beal for Simmons swap could make sense, Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard seems to be looking at the trade market for another star to team up with Beal and Russell Westbrook.
“Most free agents would like to play with Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and in Washington DC. I know we’re a tad limited in cap so we will have to be judicious — active in the trade market,” Sheppard said on Wednesday.
The question now becomes how a Ben Simmons trade to the nation’s capital might look. We check in on some scenarios below.
Bradley Beal for Ben Simmons swap
This is the most obvious potential blockbuster trade involving the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalist. Philadelphia is said to be looking for someone with outside shooting capability who can create his own shot.
Beal, 28, fits into that category in more ways than one. He’s averaged north of 30 points per game in each of the past two seasons and is among the best mid-range shooters in the Association. He’s a natural fit with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris in Philadelphia.
As for the Wizards, a move of this ilk would be done with the understanding that they are not going to rebuild regardless of the potential Beal trade request. Simmons could act as a longer-term anchor in hopes of continued playoff contention given that he’s still only 25 years old. Washington would also likely receive more assets from Philadelphia than a simple player-for-player swap, too.
Ben Simmons dealt to Washington Wizards in three-team trade
Based on Sheppard’s comments, the idea would be to add another star player to go with Beal and Westbrook rather than trading away the two guards. This possibility is complicated by the fact that Philadelphia likely wouldn’t want another member of the Wizards roster as the centerpiece in a trade. Hence, getting a third team involved.
Washington has pretty much all of its first-round picks available in a trade, via swap or direct exchange, through 2028.
The only outlier here is a protected 2023 pick that could be headed to the Houston Rockets stemming from the Russell Westbrook trade ahead of the 2020-21 season. It also has 2020 top-10 pick Deni Avdija as well as youngsters Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura that could be of interest to rebuilding teams.
Perhaps, a squad like the Oklahoma City Thunder get involved. Shockingly, there’s a chance that star young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be on the trade market for a plethora of picks and young players. He’s someone the 76ers would certainly have interest in if they do move off Ben Simmons.
Either way, the Wizards have suddenly become one of the most-intriguing teams heading into the 2021 NBA Draft. They could opt to blow it all up by trading Beal and Westbrook. There’s also a chance that Washington gets creative to add that third star to the mix in Ben Simmons.