You can question Ben Simmons’ status as an NBA star, but there is no denying his name power. And, as is the case whenever any big-named player is potentially up for grabs, chances are your favorite team is at least going to be floated in trade talks — the Boston Celtics are no different.
Shortly after the Sixers’ disappointing playoff exit this past season, talks of a Simmons-Jaylen Brown swap began to surface. This was mainly due to Boston’s perceived hole at point guard with Kemba Walker’s impending exit. Thankfully, clearer minds prevailed and chatter of unloading Brown has essentially died, as have talks of Simmons heading to Boston — or at least they had.
The belief that Simmons would be dealt come draft day was clearly a farce, as essentially every potential suitor, sans maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves, have fled in the opposite direction. With the three-time All-Star’s market extremely dry, and Simmons reportedly strong-arming Philly on his trade requests (per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer), Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely believes the chances of Boston throwing their hat in the ring could be increasing.
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Blakely Could ‘Absolutely’ Envision a Simmons-Celtics Deal
Joining CLNS Media’s “Boston Sports Beat” podcast, Blakely was asked by host John Zannis if the Celtics should “buy the dip” as it pertains to Simmons’ plummeting trade stock and knock on the door with an offer for the Sixers.
“I could absolutely see it happening if the price keeps dropping,” Blakely said. “To me, it’s going to be one of those things where Ben Simmons would have to say ‘I want to play with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.’ Because there’s no way that they’re going to get either one of those guys — Philly that is — in exchange for Ben, it just won’t happen.”
While the probability of this exact scenario panning out is slim-to-none, Blakely pointed to the unexpected Dennis Schroder signing to help back his take.
“I look at this as a situation where you know, remember where a few weeks ago all the talk about Dennis Schroder and his future. Celtics were nowhere on the radar, the thinking was that there’s no way in hell that he would wind up in Boston because he’s going to demand too much money and they’re just not going to make the money work,” Blakely noted. “And then low and behold they get him for like less than $6 million. If you can somehow finagle a way to get Ben Simmons and it doesn’t cost you in any way shape or form Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams, Al Horford, if you can you can keep that foursome intact and add Ben Simmons, if some type of combination of the other guys, hell yeah you do that.”
Contract Makes Simmons a No-Go for Boston
As Blakely and Zannis alluded to on the podcast, Simmons’ woeful playoff showing has somewhat clouded the outlook on the former No. 1 overall pick.
Yes, he’s not the most aggressive offensive scorer. Yes, his shot and free throw shooting undoubtedly need work. However, no matter what Twitter might tell you, Simmons is far from a scrub. This is a perennial All-Star, still just 25 years old, with multiple NBA All-Defensive First Team selections under his belt who just so happens to also be one of the league’s very best facilitators.
Yet, it’s his massive contract that appears to be the thorn in Simmons’ side when it comes to his desire to dispatch from Philadelphia. Only one year into a five-year, $177.2 million deal, the Melbourne native is set to earn north of $35 million annually through 2025. Such a price tag is well out of Boston’s desired price range, and evidently a large chunk of the NBA landscape as well.