According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, there are six teams that are chasing Ben Simmons. The Timberwolves, Spurs, Pacers, Cavaliers, Pistons, and Raptors are willing to take on the Ben Simmons baggage of low motor, bad free-throw shooting, zero three-point shots, and delusions of grandeur. The Sixers are still holding out hope for Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal.
The Sixers still have the advantage. They don’t have to make a move until December 15th when teams can trade newly acquired free agents. Rich Paul won’t be in the driver’s seat until January when all contracts will be guaranteed. For the next six weeks, the Sixers can just listen and wait. Consider: James Harden wasn’t traded until five weeks after training camp started. There is time.
What Can Each Team Offer to Entice Philly?
They are not giving up Karl-Anthony Towns who plays the same position as Joel Embiid. They probably don’t want to give up D’Angelo Russell either but he’s their only asset and his salary works. Anthony Edwards should have won ROY and he is someone the Wolves want to keep and frankly would need if they part with Russell. Suddenly the Wolves would be desperate for a perimeter shot maker. The Wolves don’t have much on the roster that Doc Rivers and Co. would want even though Rivers coached Patrick Beverly in L.A.
They are not giving up Domantis Sabonis and frankly, they don’t need to. Malcolm Brogdon would be a good get. He’s a leader, plays defense, is mature, and shows up when you need him to. I’d ask for Caris LeVert too because Levert is tough to guard and gives the Sixers something they don’t have, an iso player who can make mid-range shots.
I like Cleveland’s moxie, as if they are a player, but they can stop with the phone calls. They don’t have veterans and that’s what Philly covets. (No one wants Kevin Love when they can get him on the waiver wire for near free) Are their players nice? Yes. Love me some Collin Sexton and Darius Garland is a talent but they aren’t ready to play in the Finals. Lauri Markkanen isn’t all that, otherwise, he’d still be in Chicago. The rest of the roster is young and/or mediocre.
San Antonio Spurs:
I’d love for Gregg Popovich to get Ben Simmons because he would be the Simmons- whisperer, something Doc failed at as a job description. But. On the other hand. If Simmons couldn’t handle Doc Rivers’s tough love he’d be a wreck playing for Popovich who gets under his players’ skin with his acerbically sarcastic one-liners. The Sixers should have pounced when DeMar DeRozan was dangled. DeRozan would have been a great 1-2 punch with Joel Embiid. (If he doesn’t work out in Chicago, DeRozan may be available in December). Like Cleveland, the Spurs have nice young players but no one ready to make an impact in the Finals. If the Sixers can pull off a 3-team deal Dejounte Murray is a get but that’s about it.
They are desperate to make the playoffs and are doing everything right. They added nice free agents a year ago and drafted Cade Cunningham. They don’t have much to offer besides Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk. Neither one are good enough for a Ben Simmons replacement.
Of this bunch, the team with the best package because the Raptors are rebuilding and they have an All-Star player who they can move who Philly needs. But do the Raptors want to move Pascal Siakam? Maybe. Siakam is out with a shoulder injury until probably December. I like OG Anunoby but only if you packaged him with Fred Van Vleet, a fantasy. The Raptors aren’t moving Van Vleet. No way. No how. Because Siakam is on the shelf for a while, the Sixers may have already decided he is their best card to play unless Lillard or Beal opens up. They can wait until December when Siakam is ready. As for Siakam, he might be hearing rumors because he has been vocal about wanting to stay in Toronto since Lowry has bolted.