No matter how many times the Philadelphia 76ers say they have no interest in moving him, rumors still continue to swirl around Ben Simmons and his future with the team. The Sixers may have had an impressive start, but if they struggle in the middle of the 2020-21 NBA season, they could finally consider breaking up their young superstar duo of Simmons and Joel Embiid. Aside from Houston Rockets superstar James Harden, another player that Philadelphia could target in the potential blockbuster deal involving the former No. 1 overall pick is All-Star shooting guard CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.
In a recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report suggested a blockbuster deal between the Sixers and the Trail Blazers that would enable McCollum to join forces with Embiid in the City of Brotherly Love. In the proposed trade scenario, the Trail Blazers would be sending a package that includes McCollum, a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2024 first-round pick to the Sixers in exchange for Simmons.
Trading a future Hall of Famer like Simmons would be a tough decision for the Sixers, but it would be worth it if it means acquiring another All-Star caliber player like McCollum, together with two future first-round selections. With the team currently in a win-now mode, swapping Simmons for McCollum would make a lot of sense. As Bailey noted, adding the veteran sharpshooter to their core of Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green, and Seth Curry would significantly improve their chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season.
“McCollum is off to the best start of his career and is actually outplaying Damian Lillard. A dramatic uptick in three-point volume has led to what would be a career-high effective field-goal percentage. He’s also creating more for teammates than ever before. Pick-and-rolls with him and Embiid, flanked by the shooting of Green, Curry and Tobias Harris, would be unstoppable. Go under the ball screen and McCollum would light you up. Go over or hedge it and Embiid has a mismatch rolling down the lane. And if you send too much help to that action, those shooters would be ready to strike.”
McCollum would undeniably be an incredible addition to Philadelphia. With his ability to efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc, most people would agree that he would be a much better fit with Embiid. Though he’s capable of excelling in an off-ball capacity, he could also run the floor and make plays for his teammates when needed.
As of now, it remains a big question mark if the Trail Blazers would entertain the idea of trading McCollum for Simmons. However, things could dramatically change if they continue to play sub-.500 basketball. Bailey believes that inserting Simmons to the lineup featuring Lillard, Gary Trent, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic would give Portland “lightyears-era Warriors vibes.”