An important offseason for the Philadelphia 76ers has already begun.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 76ers have "opened up trade conversations" surrounding Ben Simmons. To no surprise, the 76ers reportedly have a "high price threshold" for the three-time All-Star, with their eyes set on getting an All-Star-caliber player in return.
Having already looked at potential trade destinations for Simmons, I wanted to take it a step further by coming up with a few trade packages for Simmons and presenting them to two members of our NBA.com Staff to get their opinion on whether or not they think both teams would agree to them. It's an exercise we did last year when news broke that James Harden was looking for a change of scenery.
Once again, I haven't included any picks in the deals. How many picks a team is willing to give the 76ers for Simmons is obviously going to be a huge part of any trade that is made, but I'm more interested in which players teams can offer. If you want to know how many picks a particular team can offer, ESPN's Bobby Marks covered it here.
Another note: Gary Clark is included in a few trades. He is set to be a free agent at the season's end, but he helps match salaries. Whether the 76ers re-sign him or fill out their roster with someone else, they will likely have someone on their roster making similar money.
Got it? Let's get to it.
Portland Trail Blazers
The trade: Ben Simmons, George Hill and Gary Clark for CJ McCollum and Robert Covington
The Trail Blazers say...
Both teams clearly need to shake things up and Simmons would pair very nicely alongside Damian Lillard. Adding his defensive presence would help Portland fix its biggest issue over the past few seasons. And although it's giving up another starter in Covington, Simmons will quickly replicate what he brings on the defensive side of the ball. McCollum would be missed offensively, as would Covington's 3-point shooting, but if the Trail Blazers can bring back Norman Powell in free agency, a core of Lillard, Simmons, Powell and Nurkic sounds like a well-oiled machine.
Plus, I love the idea of George Hill playing backup point guard for the Blazers. They could use a veteran like that off the bench.
Sure, send it through.
- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
The 76ers say...
No at first, then respond with a counteroffer that sends Damian Lillard to Philly.
In the proposed deal, the money matches and McCollum got off to a great start to the 2020-21 season, but then injury struck, which is the beginning of my concerns. Don't get me wrong, McCollum is one of the league's best scorers and he made a name for himself right up the road at Lehigh University, but at this point, his limitations and injury history are too much to ignore.
McCollum is entering his age 30 season and, as an undersized shooting guard, remains limited on the defensive end. Instead of a fringe All-Star, it's worth inquiring about the reportedly disgruntled perennial All-Star and hands down top-10 talent in Lillard, who would immediately make this team a title favourite.
The deal would need to be reconstructed a bit, given Lillard's $39.3 million salary for the upcoming season, but you've got to inquire. Lillard might want out anyway, so it's up to Philly to convince them that there isn't a better potential return piece than a Defensive Player of the Year finalist in Simmons.
It's worth a shot.
- Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
The trade: Ben Simmons and George Hill for Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Marvin Bagley III
The Kings say...
Simmons is one of the best defenders in the NBA and a phenomenal playmaker but is he worth giving up one of the most promising rookies from this past draft class in Haliburton, a sharpshooter in Hield and a former No. 2 overall pick in Bagley? Not in my opinion.
If they could get the deal done without giving up Haliburton, it'd be worth much more consideration. But then again, they'd be crowded in the backcourt with Simmons, Haliburton and De'Aaron Fox. Now that I'm thinking of it, I'm not sure Fox and Simmons would work very well together in the first place because of how Fox commands the ball.
This seems like a no-go to me.
The 76ers say...
No, although the reasons the Kings said no make this enticing.
As bright of a star that Haliburton has the potential to be, I think he's a few years away from becoming that. The same goes for Bagley, who, at 22, needs new scenery to realize what he was suspected to become prior to the 2018 NBA Draft.
Philly's championship window is now.
Hield is one of the best shooters in the league but when you break this down, he's really the only one ready to come in and contribute to a title push right away, and that's ultimately what this trade would need to net in return.
The trade: Ben Simmons for Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young
The Bulls say...
LaVine is crucial to the Bulls as a primary scoring option. If you trade him away for Simmons, you're basically turning into the Orlando Magic, relying on All-Star Nikola Vucevic to be your go-to source of offence.
I'm holding on to LaVine in this situation, for sure.
The 76ers say...
Sure, why not?
This is one of those situations that seem so crazy that it actually might work. LaVine meets the first prerequisite of being an All-Star and although he hasn't played much meaningful basketball up to this point in his career, I think he'd rise to the occasion with an opportunity to do so.
Also, I'm not sleeping on the versatility of Young, who is still stuffing the stat sheet 13 years in. He'd be a key piece as he returns back to where he got a start to his NBA career.
The trade: Ben Simmons, George Hill, Gary Clark and Shake Milton for D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jaden McDaniels
The Timberwolves say...
I love the idea of a Simmons and Anthony Edwards backcourt. Sure, giving up Russell, Beasley and a promising young wing in McDaniels hurts a bit, but for a team that desperately needs to improve defensively, Simmons would be perfect alongside Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. That trio could be dangerous, especially if Simmons could elevate Edwards as a defender. We already know he would elevate him as a scorer.
Hill and Milton also provide a bit of a scoring punch off the bench in return for what you lose in Russell and Beasley.
I think this is pretty close to what a deal between these teams would look like, as long as the front office got the okay from Towns to trade his best friend.
The 76ers say...
No, though realistically this might be the best deal that comes Philly's way.
Russell has been an All-Star in the East before, and maybe it's something he can tap into again, and Beasley is a bonafide bucket. Based on his rookie season, McDaniels' potential is through the roof, but each of the aforementioned players don't move this team closer to an NBA title than they are by running things back with the current roster.
That's what it's all about, and I can't look past that.
The trade: Ben Simmons and Shake Milton for Jaylen Brown and Tristan Thompson
The Celtics say...
Although it is fun to think about Simmons, Smart, Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams as a defensive unit, I'm not trading Brown for Simmons. If Brown's not already the better all-around player, I'm certain he will be by the time both of their current contracts run out.
It feels like we know what Simmons' ceiling is. The same can't be said for Brown.
The 76ers say...
All-Star? Check. Frontcourt depth? Check. Ready to win now? Check.
As the package in return checks all boxes, this is an enticing deal for the Sixers to run things back in a different way. As Kyle said, we don't know what Brown can become in this league, but I do think he would make for a great partner to roll with Embiid.
That is a move that brings you closer to a title.
The trade: Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton for Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans
The Wizards say...
Simmons, Thybulle and Milton is a great return for Beal and Bertans, but Beal has been one of the hottest names in the rumour mill over the past few seasons and I feel like the Wizards can get a better return for him than Simmons.
Plus, the idea of Simmons and Russell Westbrook on the same team is a bit nauseating.
It's a good offer, but because of that pairing, I don't see how the Wizards could go through with it.
The 76ers say...
Yes before the Wizards get a chance to give it a second thought.
Beal is that All-Star-calibre player that the Sixers are said to be looking for in return for Simmons and rightly so, as Simmons is still one of the league's brightest young stars ahead of his 25-year-old season.
At 28, Beal and Embiid could be a nice 1-2 punch for years to come, with a cleaner fit made possible by the amazing increase in floor space. Since the deal doesn't include Tyrese Maxey or George Hill, Philly remains set at point guard and will be ready to compete at a high level in the East.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.