Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons shares an agent with Los Angeles Lakers legend LeBron James. Said agent, Rich Paul from Klutch Sports, just met with the Sixers’ brass following Simmons’ ugly performance in Philadelphia’s Eastern Conference Semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
This is not the only thing that could connect the two moving forward. By now, it’s well known that Simmons could be on the outs in Philadelphia. Paul’s meeting with 76ers general manager Elton Brand and president Daryl Morey included at least some talk of a trade.
Meanwhile, the still-defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are coming off an ugly first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Playoffs and are going to have to switch things up to an extent if they want to return to championship frontrunner status moving forward.
Could all of this mean that a Ben Simmons trade to the Lakers might be in the cards during the NBA offseason? That’s a tricky question to answer. But we shall delve in with a full explanation of how it might work below.
Los Angeles Lakers lack trade assets
That’s the first point we must make. By virtue of their trade for Anthony Davis ahead of the 2019-20 season, the Lakers don’t have first-round picks to offer up in a trade. In fact, the New Orleans Pelicans own control of Los Angeles’ next four first-round picks following the 2021 NBA Draft.
- 2022: To the Pelicans (unprotected)
- 2023: To the Pelicans (pick swap)
- 2024: To the Pelicans (unprotected)
- 2025: Pelicans can opt for this pick instead of the 2024 selection
This makes it incredibly difficult for Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka to pull off a trade for a proven player to team up with King James and AD.
With that said, there’s options for the Lakers here. They boast the 22nd pick in a loaded 2021 NBA Draft. Los Angeles can technically make that selection for Philadelphia or a third team and still abide by NBA rules that prohibit teams to trade first-round picks in consecutive years. This could be a nice sweetener in any potential Ben Simmons trade.
Los Angeles Lakers trading for Ben Simmons would be a three-team swap
Simply put, Los Angeles does not have the assets on its roster to attract the 76ers in a two-team deal. It would have to get another team involved, enticing said squad with that aforementioned first-round pick, young players and cap fillers.
The Sacramento Kings come to mind as a potential option in that they are looking to move off guard Buddy Hield and disgruntled big man Marvin Bagley III, both of whom might be of interest to Philadelphia. Hence, this hypothetical blockbuster trade to get Simmons to Southern California.
- Lakers get: Ben Simmons
- 76ers get: Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III
- Kings get: Kyle Kuzma, Talen-Horton Tucker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, first-round pick
Staying with us here? We sure the heck hope so, because, it promises to get a lot more fun. The question now becomes whether this would work for the three teams involved, the Los Angeles Lakers included.
Let’s start with the defending champs. As we saw last season with Dennis Schroder struggling in Los Angeles, these Lakers still need to find that guy who can run the offense. Whether it’s from the power forward position (think Draymond Green) or as a straight point guard, Simmons can still be that guy. After all, he’s averaging 7.7 assists throughout his career.
As for Simmons’ struggles shooting the ball, the Lakers would be able to open things up for him with James and Davis in the frontcourt. It would be all about the former No. 1 pick being more aggressive — something that hasn’t defined his game over the past couple seasons. Adding Simmons to the mix would also give the Lakers a true NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate with James regressing on that end of the court at this stage of his career.
For the 76ers, it would be all about spacing and perimeter shooting. Despite falling out of favor in California’s capital city, Hield has proven himself as a consistent 20-point scorer with range from beyond the arc. Just look at his career three-point percentage of 41% as a prime case study.
Sure Philadelphia would be taking a hit on defense with Hield and Seth Curry on the court together, but that’s a dynamic perimeter duo with reigning NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid inside. Add in the presence of Tobias Harris, and it could work for Doc Rivers. By bringing in Bagley III, Philadelphia is also taking a chance that the still-young 22-year-old former No. 2 pick can turn things around while playing next to Embiid and Harris in the frontcourt.
Now, why would Sacramento help its Pacific Division rival in that of the Los Angeles Lakers facilitate this trade? It’s simple. Neither Hield or Bagley III have a ton of trade value on their own. It’s known that the Kings are going to move off both while building around the star young backcourt duo of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
By acquiring an impressive young wing in Talen Horton-Tucker, the Kings would almost be receiving near market value. Those on the inside within the confines of the NBA view THT as a core piece for a rebuilding team. Heck, King James continues to speak highly of him.
If that weren’t enough, Kuzma would be the centerpiece here. The power forward is just a couple years removed from averaging nearly 19 points per game for the Los Angeles Lakers. He’d slot in at the four and give the Kings another foundational piece. This trade would also enable Sacramento to pick up a first-round pick while moving Harrison Barnes for more draft capital in a separate deal. In short, it could work.
By no means is Ben Simmons to the Lakers a likely scenario. However, this potential three-team trade seems to make sense for all sides. It’s something fun to look at with a summer of NBA trade rumors on the horizon.