Texas Team a ‘Sneaky’ Trade Spot for Sixers’ Simmons: Report

Ben Simmons Sixers Spurs

Getty Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons takes the ball to the hoop during a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Ben Simmons’ future with the Philadelphia 76ers continues to be the hottest hoops story in the City of Brotherly Love. That will continue to be the case, too, until team president Daryl Morey either moves the former No. 1 overall pick or unilaterally declares that the Sixers are keeping him.

Although Morey and Sixers coach Doc Rivers have expressed a level of support for Simmons, with the latter hyping an offseason strategy to stamp out his shooting woes, there’s a chance that those calling for a trade have the firmest grip on reality.

The fact that Simmons was hesitant to attempt a layup during the fourth quarter of a playoff elimination game looms large. As do his record-breaking struggles at the foul line during postseason play, where he connected on just 34.2% of his attempts.

If Simmons is to be jettisoned, though, Philly needs to identify a trade partner that can provide a compensation package that will keep MVP runner-up Joel Embiid and his crew in contention.

An ESPN analyst has suggested that one of the Association’s Texas teams could fit the bill.

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Lowe: Spurs Primed to Make a Move Simmons

During a recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and fellow hoops pundits Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks discussed a number of Simmons-centric trade scenarios. While many of them have appeared in some form or another ad nauseum on the blogosphere, Lowe posited a new, “sneaky” destination for the All-Star.

Specifically, the San Antonio Spurs.

In his opinion, the Spurs are uniquely positioned to offer a substantial package to Philly in exchange for Simmons.

“Can I tell you my sneakiest team?” Lowe asked. “Just purely putting puzzle pieces together — San Antonio is just tailor-made for a bunch of stuff for one guy, throw some things at the wall move. Like why not just say here’s some, here’s some veterans who complement Simmons, here’s some draft picks.”

Lowe noted that in order for the Spurs to make a play for Simmons, though, they may have to face some hard truths about their current roster.

“It would require them thinking, ‘We’ve got a bunch of pretty good young guys. We don’t think they’re gonna add up to a great team, even when they all reach 23/24/25 years old — Derrick White’s already 26, I think — let’s just take a shot.”

DeMar DeRozan Would Be the Headliner

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The Sixers’ first priority in any deal would be netting a player who could be plugged in next to Embiid and Tobias Harris as a core piece for a legitimate title contender. To that end, Spurs star DeMar DeRozan could fit the bill.

Said Lowe:

“Correct me if I’m wrong, I believe they could sign and trade [DeMar] DeRozan to the Sixers and the Sixers would still be able to get under the hard cap, right? I think they would have enough leeway, right?”

Indeed they would.

DeRozan — previously a four-time All-Star with the Toronto Raptors — averaged 21.6 points, 6.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest. The 31-year-old is an unrestricted free agent, hence the sign-and-trade requirement Lowe referred to.

While DeRozan could be an intriguing fit with the Sixers, the move to San Antonio could be good for Simmons and his shooting too.

“The Spurs have Chip Engelland!” Lowe said. “If there’s one guy who could fix Ben Simmons and make him change hands, they’ve got him.”

Engelland has been credited with helping Kawhi Leonard become one of the better shooters in the NBA after he had made just 25% of his three-point attempts as a collegiate. Leonard is a career 38.4% shooter from deep as a professional.


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