According to a new list of trade suggestions from Bleacher Report, the Philadelphia 76ers could send Ben Simmons to the Denver Nuggets in the event they decide to break up his partnership with fellow All-Star Joel Embiid.
As explained by the publication’s Grant Hughes, the Sixers are a good example of a team that has two superstar-level players who don’t exactly click with each other. Providing some statistics to back that up, he wrote that the team allowed just 105.4 points per 100 possessions when Simmons and Embiid were on the floor together but only had a plus-1.8 net rating. This suggested that despite the duo’s elite defense, the Sixers’ offense “cratered” when they were playing alongside each other, as Simmons’ “refusal” to take outside shots has forced Embiid to space the floor “far more often” than he should.
Given that the two Sixers standouts led the club to a plus-4.4 net rating when they were both in the game and Al Horford was on the bench, Hughes noted that the “obvious” solution would be to trade the veteran big man. However, the Bleacher Report writer stressed that Philadelphia could also move Simmons to Denver if both teams have a disappointing start to the 2020-21 season. He recommended a deal that would allow the Nuggets to acquire the Australian playmaker in exchange for forwards Michael Porter Jr. and Jerami Grant, shooting guard Gary Harris, and their first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
While the hypothetical transaction might be a bit “tricky” due to Grant’s player option for 2020-21, Hughes predicted that Porter could slide into the starting power forward slot and provide the Sixers with much-needed shooting and spacing. He added that Grant could partially replace Simmons’ contributions on defense and also shoot with range. Harris, meanwhile, was included for salary-matching purposes, as well as his contributions on both ends of the floor from the wing positions.
As for the Nuggets, Simmons could potentially give the club “endless” options on offense, even if he ostensibly doesn’t appear to be a good fit in a starting lineup that features a top playmaking center in Nikola Jokic.
“Jokic is a fine spacer himself, and he’d unlock Simmons’ cutting game. We might also see the Nuggets get creative with some 5-4 pick-and-rolls, which could free Simmons up for dives down the lane or isolations against overmatched centers who switch onto him.”
Prior to the new trade idea, it was suggested last month that Philadelphia could move Simmons to the Phoenix Suns in a deal that would allow the organization to acquire All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker. Likewise, the Houston Rockets have been mentioned in recent weeks as yet another potential destination for the 24-year-old.