New Orleans Pelicans center/power forward Anthony Davis is set to be one of the hottest commodities on the trade market in the 2019 NBA offseason. Though the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics are emerging as the top favorites to be Davis’ next landing spot, other NBA teams are still expected to take a chance of adding the All-Star center on their roster in the summer of 2019. One of the intriguing trade destinations for Davis is the Philadelphia 76ers.
The addition of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to the core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and J.J Redick showed how serious the Sixers are in winning the NBA championship title in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, the Sixers’ road to their first NBA championship title since 1982 won’t be easy, especially with the emergence of powerhouse teams in the Eastern Conference and the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors. If they suffer a disappointment in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report believes that the Sixers will consider a huge roster shakeup next summer.
Hughes predicted that the Sixers could decide to use former No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as a trade chip to acquire a superstar who is a better fit with Joel Embiid. In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Sixers will be sending a trade package centered on Simmons to the Pelicans in exchange for Davis.
“Davis and the Pels are done; this season’s trade request burned that bridge. But with David Griffin now running basketball operations, it’s fair to assume New Orleans will become a better place to play. Griffin has had immense success in the league, most notably in the form of three straight Finals runs with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he’s widely respected. If Simmons isn’t a long-term fit with Embiid in Philadelphia—let’s face it, their compatibility will always be shaky, given Simmons’ lack of a jumper—a fresh start with a revamped New Orleans organization could be appealing. Jrue Holiday is still there, the city is a delight and Simmons spent his brief collegiate career at LSU.”
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) April 17, 2019
The Sixers perfectly fit the description of Anthony Davis’ preferred landing spot when he demanded a trade before the February NBA trade deadline – a team where he can consistently win and contend for the NBA championship. Davis won’t have a hard time sharing the Sixers’ frontcourt with Joel Embiid since he could also play as a power forward. Hughes believes that Davis and Embiid could form the “scariest set of twin towers the league has ever seen.”
Meanwhile, being traded to a small-market team like the Pelicans isn’t a bad thing at all for Ben Simmons. Moving out of the shadow of Embiid could help Simmons unleash his full potential and in New Orleans, he can officially become the face of the franchise. The Pelicans are aware that Davis’ departure is inevitable, but they don’t seem to have any intention of undergoing a full-scale rebuild. Pairing Simmons with Jrue Holiday won’t make the Pelicans an instant title contender, but surrounding them with quality players will strengthen their chance of returning to the Western Conference Playoffs in the 2019-20 NBA season.