Seth Curry is singing his praises and calling for his return. Dwight Howard thinks that fans need to get off of his back. He’s a three-time NBA All-Star and he just came in second in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year honors. Nevertheless, Ben Simmons may not be long for the Philadelphia 76ers.
After a rough playoff run culminating with an early exit, Sixers president Daryl Morey and the rest of Philly’s decision-makers are engaged in an internal debate about Simmons’ future with the club. In the meantime, teams from around the Association are monitoring the situation.
One team said to be sniffing around Simmons is the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, their reported reluctance to include D’Angelo Russell and/or Anthony Edwards (not to mention Karl-Anthony Towns) in a deal would probably preclude them from making a real play.
Per another recent report, the Cleveland Cavaliers are probably on the outs as well, despite having the ability to offer an intriguing exchange.
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The Athletic: Cavs Package Not Enough to Get Simmons
One hypothetical trade that works from a financial standpoint would see the Cavs sending Collin Sexton and Kevin Love to Philly for Simmons. However, according to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd, it’s probably not a deal Morey and Co. would go for.
“I asked one executive from an opposing team if the Cavs could get the Sixers’ Ben Simmons for a package of Love and Sexton,” he wrote on Sunday. “While the money matches, the response was ‘no chance; Philly can do better’ despite Simmons’ deflated value.”
Still, that particular deal would check some boxes for the Sixers.
Sexton is the backcourt playmaker that Philly lacked during its disappointing playoff run. In other words, he’s not a player who is going to shy away from attempting a layup during crunch time of a Game 7. Last season, he put up 24.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game while hitting 37.1% of his triples.
At just 22 years old, he’s still growing, too.
Love, meanwhile, is well past his prime but could be a welcome addition to the Sixers’ frontcourt due to his floor-spacing abilities. He wouldn’t be asked to do much beyond hit catch-and-shoot threes and rebound a little, which are things he can probably still excel at despite the fact he’s heading into year 14.
The Sixers Would Probably Be Right to Pass
Although this isn’t the craziest trade proposal out there, it’s probably true that Philly could do better. Names like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are being floated for a reason, after all. There are some issues with Sexton and Love, too.
First and foremost, Sexton is up for an extension and he could be looking for the max. And while he has been a big-time scorer for Cleveland, there’s probably a good reason the Cavs are reportedly willing to move him as opposed to giving him the big payday.
Where the Sixers are concerned, it would be folly to pay a player other than Simmons a comparable amount of money if that player has a lower ceiling. If getting top-dollar is his goal and he can’t get it in-house, Sexton will be a restricted free agent after next season, too. There may be another team out there willing to take the plunge.
As for Love, between injuries and the pandemic, he has played in just 103 total games over the last three seasons. And when he has been on the floor, he has looked like a shell of his former self.
So, there are legitimate questions to be asked about what he has left in the tank and whether that’s worth the $60ish million he’ll earn over the next two years.
Now, the Cavs could sweeten the pot with other assets, but Philly isn’t looking to stockpile picks or prospects. They need to make the best move possible to maximize Joel Embiid’s prime years and increase their chances of getting to the NBA Finals.
A trade with the Cavs is likely not the best way to do that.
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