Ben Simmons’ stock appears to be at an all-time low. Viewed as the centerpiece in a potential James Harden trade package just a few months ago, the 24-year-old looks much more like a reclamation project at this point. Thanks to a horrendous playoff showing marred by shooting woes, the trigger shy point guard’s days in Philly may ultimately be drawing to an end.
Finding reasons to retain Simmons from a Sixers perspective may be tough to come by. His confidence appears to be shot, while his fit alongside MVP candidate Joel Embiid continues to have its limitations. With that said, Simmons still offers enough upside as a high-end distributor and All-NBA defender to warrant legitimate interest on the trade market from a point guard-needy team — especially at his perceived docked value.
One of the teams likely to be in the market for a point guard this offseason is the Boston Celtics. After trading starter Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Cs are suddenly left with a mixture of Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard, Tremont Waters and Carsen Edwards at the position. It’s reasonable to envision the former being handed the gig heading into next season, as Smart has proven to fit in nicely alongside stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. With that said, a player of Simmons’ skillset — even with his limitations — would undoubtedly be an intriguing addition for exec Brad Stevens and the Celtics.
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Celtics Players Dangled as Trade Chips in Potential Simmons Deal
The most logical trade chip in a possible Simmons deal would be the recently re-acquired Al Horford. However, for obvious reasons, he’s unlikely to gauge much interest from the Sixers.
“Newly acquired Al Horford ($27 million) is an easy salary match but we know that’s a road the Sixers aren’t interested in going down again, even if picks were attached by the Celtics,” wrote Mass Live’s Brian Robb. “The Sixers are looking to win now so they are going to want talent that can help right away in return.”
Robb dangled the likes of Pritchard, Rob Williams, Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith as “inexpensive players” to better help facilitate a deal, but admits finding a mix that “satisfies all parties” is unlikely. Instead, the NBA insider landed on the team’s longest-tenured player and their lone veteran with championship experience as potential trade pieces.
“That brings us to the only other possible trade structure. Marcus Smart (13.4 million) and Tristan Thompson ($9.2 million) get the Celtics pretty close to the $23 million needed for salary matching,” Robb noted. “One other player being included in that offer would make the math work for a trade. Boston would also have the option of including a draft pick in this scenario. Would the Celtics prefer Smart and Thompson over Simmons? Would the Sixers?”
The good news here is that Simmons’ stock has plummeted to the point that should the Celtics make a move for the four-year pro, they’d almost certainly be doing so without risking the loss of either Tatum or Brown.
Still, with four years and a $140 million remaining on his contract, would Boston be willing to stomach yet another monster contract for a point guard with lingering concerns? Especially after just moving off of one?