In a recent article, Dan FaVale of Bleacher Report created a list of five blockbuster trade ideas that the Minnesota Timberwolves could make using the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. These include a three-way deal involving the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers that would enable the Timberwolves to acquire Ben Simmons. In the proposed scenario, the Timberwolves would get Simmons, the Sixers would receive Bradley Beal and the No. 17 selection, while the Wizards would obtain Jarrett Culver, James Johnson, Josh Okogie, Jarred Vanderbilt, the No. 1 selection, and a 2023 first-rounder.
Though it would cost them plenty of precious trade assets, that proposed blockbuster would make a lot of sense for the Timberwolves as it would allow them to add a third star that perfectly fits the timeline of Towns and Russell. FaVale believes that pairing Towns and Russell with a defensive specialist like Simmons would give the Timberwolves a “visible line” to conquering the Western Conference and capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy next year.
“Russell and Towns are quintessential running mates for Simmons. Towns doesn’t need to occupy the same space as him in the half court, and Russell makes it so he won’t be the primary ball-handler on every possession. Simmons alone also gives the Timberwolves a crack at defensive competence—and, therefore, a visible line to championship contention.”
The Sixers have yet to show any sign that they are planning to move Simmons this offseason, but it’s not hard to see them pulling the trigger on a deal that would send them Beal. The suggested trade would allow them to replace Simmons with another All-Star that is a better fit with Joel Embiid. Having a superstar running mate who is an elite three-point shooter would enable Embiid to focus on dominating under the basket where he could maximize his talent.
The Sixers wouldn’t miss Simmons that much. Though Beal plays at the shooting guard position, he’s capable of running the offense and making plays for his teammates. Aside from being a very reliable scoring option and floor-spacer, he’s also a decent perimeter defender. Last season, he averaged 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
Meanwhile, the Wizards have already told everyone in the league that they have no intention of moving Beal. But if they decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild, this could be one of the best packages that they could get for the All-Star shooting guard. Aside from helping them open up a huge chunk of their salary cap space, the proposed deal would also allow them to acquire three young and promising players in Culver, Okogie, and Vanderbilt and add another talented prospect in the upcoming draft. The Wizards could use the 2023 first-rounder to further solidify their young core or as trade bait to find a team that will absorb John Wall and his lucrative contract.