Much of the recent Ben Simmons trade chatter from Philadelphia 76ers fans has been focused on bringing Damian Lillard to the City of Brotherly Love, and why not? Rumors of an impending trade request from Lillard have been one of the hottest topics in the entire hoops world.
Given Lillard’s denial, though, as well as the sizable downward step that would be occurring if the Sixers were to aim for CJ McCollum instead, there’s a chance that the Portland Trail Blazers simply aren’t the ideal trade partners for Daryl Morey and Co.
In fact, the current list of clubs that both want Simmons and can (or are willing to) pay a premium price in a trade netting his services may be smaller than Philly had hoped it would be. However, there are definitely teams that can make a legitimate play for the Aussie point-man.
On Friday, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale identified one potential landing spot for Simmons that few people have talked about.
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B/R: Hornets Could Offer a Reasonable Trade Package
In a piece attempting to find brand new landing spots for the NBA’s most rumored trade targets, Favale singled out another Eastern Conference team as a potential dancing partner. Namely, the Charlotte Hornets.
Per the league insider, Michael Jordan’s squad has the unique mix of high-scoring vets (one of which is a former All-Star), good young players, a lottery pick and cap space to play with in exploring a Simmons move.
“Between Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, the No. 11 pick and impending cap space, they have the tools necessary to field a cornucopia of Simmons offers. A Devonte’ Graham sign-and-trade could even be part of their calculus.
“To be clear: This isn’t kitchen-sink-and-then-some territory. Charlotte should only be putting a mix of these players and picks on the table.
“A deal in the vein of Hayward, Rozier and No. 11 for Simmons and George Hill feels like a good conversation-starter.”
Favale did note that Simmons may be an odd fit next to the ball-dominant LaMelo Ball. However, a move to the Hornets could work if he operated more as a small-ball big man, a role he excelled at in spurts while Joel Embiid was out with injury.
There’s also the issue of Hayward’s recent injury history. When he was right last season, though, he showed that he was one of the best all-around players in the Association. Over 44 games, he put up 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest. He also knocked down 41.5% of his triples.
If Philly could get a player of his ilk, a 20-point scorer in Rozier and a high-potential draft choice for Simmons, that’s probably not a terrible haul.
Dame to the Raptors?
Regarding Lillard, Favale mentioned the Toronto Raptors as an under-the-radar suitor for his services.
“Going after Lillard is a genuinely on-brand proposition for a franchise that hasn’t shied away from rolling the dice under team president Masai Ujiri (who, by the way, is a free agent). The Raptors have the No. 4 pick plus ready-made centerpiece options in Anunoby, Siakam and VanVleet. That isn’t just a starting point; it’s a versatile springboard. Toronto can build all sorts of packages depending on what Portland wants in return.”
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