In a recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report created a list of trades that would shock every NBA fan base in the 2020 offseason. The list includes a blockbuster deal that would send Ben Simmons to the New Orleans Pelicans. In the proposed scenario, the Pelicans would send a package that includes Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and a 2021 first-rounder to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Simmons and Al Horford.
Though it would cost them some of their core players and two first-round selections, the proposed deal would make a lot of sense for the Pelicans. As Swartz noted, the suggested trade would allow the Pelicans to form the league’s most promising trio in Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson next season.
“Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson on the same team? Give David Griffin the Executive of the Year award right now. Three of the NBA’s best young players would give New Orleans perhaps the brightest future of any team in the league, and it would be ready to make a playoff run right away. A starting unit of Simmons, Josh Hart, Ingram, Williamson and Horford would have terrific potential on both sides of the ball and would still be grooming Jaxson Hayes to take over the starting center job when he’s ready.”
Simmons would immediately fill the hole left by Holiday and Ball in the Pelicans’ backcourt while giving them an incredible rebounder, facilitator, and a great lockdown defender. This season, he averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, eight assists, and 2.1 steals while shooting 58 percent from the field. If Simmons further improves his game and unlocks his three-point shooting skills, he would undoubtedly be a huge help in turning the Pelicans from a rebuilding team into a legitimate title contender in the Western Conference.
Though he’s included in the deal for salary-matching purposes, Horford would also be a great addition to the Pelicans. Horford could serve as New Orleans’ temporary starting center, while they are waiting for the full development of Jaxson Hayes.
Meanwhile, the proposed trade is a no-brainer for the Sixers. By sacrificing Simmons, they would be able to dump Horford’s lucrative contract and acquire quality players that fit Joel Embiid’s game. Holiday would give the Sixers a starting-caliber point guard who could space the floor, while Ball would provide them a pass-first point guard in the second unit.
Redick would be a familiar face in Philadelphia who could address their need for improvement in terms of floor-spacing. With the Sixers currently in a win-now mode, they could use Alexander-Walker and the two first-rounders as trade chips to acquire another established veteran in the 2020 offseason.