The summer of Ben Simmons continues into July.
Just 11 days following the Philadelphia 76ers‘ crushing Game Seven loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, it seems there have been more trade rumors surrounding Simmons lately than free throw makes in the playoffs for the 2018 Rookie of the Year. While the Big Kahuna is still Portland Trail Blazers stud point guard Damian Lillard, loads of other names have been thrown into the mix.
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When all is said and done, Philadelphia even may end up keeping Simmons in stow – a guy who was supposed to be a franchise cornerstone and part of a championship-winning duo with Joel Embiid by now. Until the dust settles on Simmons though, the rumors are fun to play with, and for some organizations trying to get back into, or stay in championship contention, it’ll be time to get bold.
‘Bold’ Proposal Has Simmons Going to Hornets for Hayward, No. 11 Pick
Bleacher Report NBA columnist Zach Buckley has been busy keeping the rumor mill spinning for various squads across the league in both the free agency department and via trades. Some of the suggestions or predictions have been for rather minor moves, while others would certainly be viewed as all-out blockbusters.
His latest proposal for what the Sixers could do with Simmons is certainly under the bold and blockbuster classifications.
Sixers receive: Gordon Hayward and No. 11 pick
Hornets receive: Ben Simmons
Though the Charlotte Hornets are certainly in no need of a starting point guard right now – with Rookie of the Year LaMelo Bell on the roster – Simmons is obviously no typical point guard. Charlotte is looking at a host of free agents possibly relocating this summer and with his size, passing, playmaking and defensive skills, Simmons could definitely fill in at multiple positions.
“Gordon Hayward helped the Hornets get their buzz back. Now, he could help bring back a 24-year-old All-Star to bulk up what has quietly become one of the Association’s better young cores,” Buckley wrote. “Charlotte could give Ben Simmons the freedom he needs not just to bounce back from a brutal postseason, but also to evolve into something greater than his current form. Repurposed as a small-ball big man, he would be a creative solution to the Hornets’ search for an interior upgrade and a fascinating co-star for Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.”
What Could Hayward, Draft Pick Bring to the Sixers?
By most accounts, Hayward hasn’t quite lived up to his billing as the ninth overall pick from the 2010 NBA Draft – the Indiana Pacers took Paul George with the 10th selection. Still, it’s not like the former Butler great has been a complete bust.
His best years came during the middle of his seven-year run with the Utah Jazz, as he averaged over 16 points per game in four straight campaigns with the team that drafted him, before signing up with the Boston Celtics for a three-season stretch in 2017. Coming off of his final year in Utah where he posted a career-high 21.9 points per game and made his only All-Star team, it seemed like Hayward was destined for greatness in Boston.
Then that gruesome injury happened in literally his first game with his new team – we won’t include that video – and the rest of his Celtics’ career was up-and-down. Hayward looked like he was bouncing back in a big way in his first season with Charlotte, posting his best numbers since his All-Star year in minutes (34.0), field goals made (7.1), three-pointers made (1.9), three-point field goal percentage (41.5%), steals (1.2) and points (19.6) per game, before missing the final 24 games of the season.
Still, Buckley sees a potential fit in Philly.
“Hayward may not have a go-to elite skill, but that’s kind of the point. His ability to shape-shift between secondary scoring, playmaking, shot-creating and shooting roles would allow him to complement Embiid however needed and coexist with the likes of Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and whomever else the Sixers retain on their roster,” he wrote. “Netting the first-round pick—largely accounting for the age gap between Simmons and Hayward—would give president Daryl Morey a potentially critical trade chip to help make this roster championship-ready around Embiid.”
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