We’ve finally made it. It’s the eve of the 2021 NBA draft.
The trade rumors, proposals, and rejections, as well as draft prospect workouts and predictions from the experts are in full swing, as the main event kicks off at 8 p.m. Thursday night on ESPN. Then there’s this summer’s abbreviated free agency period, the NBA Summer League, and training camp all happening over the next few months, before the 2021-2022 regular season is scheduled to tip off on October 19.
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Ever since the game clock hit 00.0 in the fourth quarter of game seven of the Philadelphia 76ers loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last month, Ben Simmons’ name has been dragged through the most constant flow of trade rumors, arguably in the entire league. One more proposal to move the former Defensive Player of the Year was constructed by NBC Sports Philadelphia writer Adam Hermann on Wednesday.
Sixers Acquire Beal, Lose Simmons, Thybulle, 2 First-Round Picks
Hermann released his latest, and probably final, 2021 NBA Mock Draft (for the first round) on Wednesday. Within it, he not only offers his prediction of who Philly will take at No. 28 (Alabama guard Joshua Primo), but gives this gem of a trade proposal:
Sixers receive: Bradley Beal
Wizards receive: Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Sixers’ 2022 1st Round Pick, 2024 1st Round Pick
After spending much of last season’s trade deadline focused on Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, and parts of this summer too, as well as Portland Trail Blazers’ stud point guard Damian Lillard this off-season, is Beal now the frontrunner for the big-ticketed player the Sixers are targeting? A special connection between Beal and Philadelphia assistant coach Sam Cassell may futher buoy that argument.
Here’s how Hermann analyzes the offer he came up with.
“It’s not cheap, but the Sixers land their star guard in Beal and they have a Big Three of Beal, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris for the foreseeable future. (This trade also comes with an agreed-upon extension for Beal),” Hermann writes. “Giving up a guy like Thybulle hurts, and the Wiz manage to take a pair of firsts as well – but it could’ve been worse: you could’ve also lost Tyrese Maxey, or you could’ve been out three first-round picks instead of just two. Simmons value feels low, but he’s still an All-Star and one of the best defenders in the league. He just can’t score like Beal, and for this Sixers team that scoring – and, specifically, that kind of scoring – is just too valuable.”
Wizards Among ‘Most Likely Landing Spots’ for Simmons
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the chances of Simmons playing on a new squad next season are “looking increasingly likely“. Furthermore, Amick reported that the Wizards, along with the Heat and Raptors, seem to be the three favorites to acquire the Australian at the moment.
“One source close to the situation handicapped Miami, Toronto and Washington as the most likely landing spots,” Amick wrote. “The Wizards scenario, of course, would only take place if Beal wound up deciding that it was time for a new chapter outside of the nation’s capital. The moving parts, as you can see, are sometimes part of the same puzzle.”
The Heat are definitely the most surprising of the top candidates.
“According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Sixers hope to get an ‘All-Star-caliber player’ back. Assuming Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are off limits, the Sixers may not be all that keen on a deal that includes Tyler Herro and/or Precious Achiuwa,” Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker wrote on Wednesday. “Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, both of whom are restricted free agents, could be moved in a sign-and-trade.”
The waiting game of will they or won’t they involving Simmons and the Sixers may be coming to an apex in the next 24 hours.