Before the 2018-19 NBA season started, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers emerged as two top NBA teams who were expected to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. The Celtics and the Sixers have very talented rosters, featuring a combination of young and talented players and established superstars. Unfortunately, both teams suffered elimination in the Eastern Conference Semifinals from the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors.
After failing to achieve their main goal, the Celtics and the Sixers will be heading into the 2019 NBA offseason with the goal of improving their rosters. Though they are expected to focus on the 2019 NBA free agency, the Celtics and the Sixers could still look for roster upgrades on the trade market. In a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, The Ringer NBA writers Bill Simmons, Jonathan Tjarks, and Kevin O’Connor discussed several trade scenarios involving former No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons.
One of the most intriguing deals that they talked about is the trade that would send Ben Simmons to the Celtics in exchange for Jayson Tatum, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Both Simmons and Tjarks agreed that the Simmons-for-Tatum trade will be beneficial for the Celtics and the Sixers with the latter saying that the deal “would be fascinating.”
“That’s really interesting. Tatum would be a better fit with (Joel) Embiid for sure. And then Simmons in Boston if Kyrie (Irving) leaves,” Tjarks said, as quoted by NJ.com.
Bill Simmons believes that Ben Simmons could step up as the Celtics’ main man if Kyrie Irving takes his talent somewhere else in the 2019 NBA free agency. A starting lineup featuring Simmons, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford will, no doubt, help the Celtics remain a competitive team in the Eastern Conference next season.
“We let Kyrie go. Then we go Simmons, (Gordon) Hayward, Jaylen Brown, whoever the picks are, (Al) Horford and then put the team in Simmons’ hands.”
Congrats to Jayson Tatum, whose beard apparently now connects fully. This is a big moment if you’ve ever had to deal with patchy facial hair. pic.twitter.com/7dcA3hj6RL— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) May 25, 2019
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Connor didn’t have exactly the same opinion as Bill Simmons and Jonathan Tjarks. Though he agreed that the deal makes sense for the Sixers, O’Connor believes that the Celtics will be better off keeping Jayson Tatum, especially if Kyrie Irving leaves next July.
“If I’m Philly? Yeah (he’d do it). I would rather have Tatum if I’m Boston.”
Though anything can happen in the NBA, the Sixers and the Celtics are less likely to explore a Jayson Tatum-for-Ben Simmons trade in the summer of 2019. If ever they decide to trade Tatum and Simmons, it will likely be for an established superstar who could boost their chance of winning the NBA championship title next season.