The Ben Simmons situation continues to be an ugly one for the Philadelphia 76ers. After the wayward floor general met with his team on October 22, it was thought that things were trending in a positive direction, perhaps even toward a return to the court. He just needed time to get right mentally and physically.
Fast-forward to now and Philly has resumed fining the star for refusing to coordinate with team doctors on that endeavor. Meanwhile, the hopes that team president Daryl Morey can find a suitable trade for the former No. 1 overall pick have remained low.
Simmons trade chatter was given new life on Monday, however, with a report that an Eastern Conference rival had approached the Sixers about a potential move.
As reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Boston Celtics — who have had some drama of their own recently — have “engaged in conversations” with the Sixers “revolving around Simmons and expressed interest in the 6-foot-11 guard.”
What the Sixers Would Want From the Celtics
Charania was quick to note that no Sixers-Celtics deal is imminent. As he describes it, talks between the two sides “have been fluid with no traction as of yet.” However, we may have an idea about who the Sixers want to bring back in a Simmons-centric deal with the Beantowners.
According to Charania, any potential trade with the Celtics would have to include guard-forward Jaylen Brown, a player who would certainly meet Morey’s requirement that Philly receive a true difference-maker in exchange for Simmons.
The 25-year-old Brown is fresh off of his first All-Star season in Boston, and he looks to be having another career year in 2021-22. Through eight games this season, the Cal product is averaging 25.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. He’s also connecting on 39.7% of his 7.3 three-point attempts per game.
Nevertheless, there have been questions about whether his pairing with fellow Celtics star Jayson Tatum is the right mix for all parties involved. The two currently boast a net rating of 11.3 when they’re on the floor together, but a ho-hum offensive rating of 106.9 during those same minutes.
Moreover, Celtics guard Marcus Smart made headlines recently when he alluded to the ball occasionally sticking to the All-Star duo.
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Celtics Could Probably Use a Shake-Up
For their part, the Sixers have weathered the Simmons melodrama relatively well on the court. Through 10 games, Doc Rivers’ team sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with an 8-2 record. And while Philly’s defense has waned somewhat without Simmons, the team’s offense has exploded.
As of this writing, the Sixers lead the Association in offensive efficiency, putting up 115.4 points per 100 possessions and logging an effective field goal percentage of 57.5.
The Celtics have had some problems, though. Their 4-6 record leaves a lot to be desired and the fact that they have already held a big players-only meeting suggests that the disharmony on the court may be creeping into the locker room, too. Meanwhile, Celtics president Brad Stevens recently confessed that the organization is “going to find out” if it has the right players on the roster.
It’s early yet, but a shake-up may just be in order.