Although the Philadelphia 76ers are still leading the Eastern Conference with a 13-6 record, the possibility remains that Ben Simmons might be moved elsewhere in the lead-up to the March 25 trade deadline. The latest scenario involving the All-Star point guard involves the Cleveland Cavaliers acquiring him in exchange for three young players — forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Cedi Osman and guard Darius Garland — as well as one first-round pick each in the 2021 and 2023 drafts.
On Thursday, NBA Analysis Network wrote that the Sixers have mainly relied on Joel Embiid to start the 2020-21 season, with the center putting up MVP-caliber numbers alongside veteran forward Tobias Harris, who has seemingly emerged as a capable second option on offense. However, Simmons has seemingly taken a bit of a step back in terms of his scoring, as he is only averaging 13 points, along with 8.6 rebounds and eight assists per game. With that in mind, the outlet suggested that the Sixers might consider moving Simmons if they really want to focus on Embiid as the face of the franchise.
As further explained, the Cavaliers could benefit from the hypothetical trade for Simmons due to how their roster has become “very strange,” with a plethora of promising young prospects but lots of uncertainty surrounding the future of big men Andre Drummond and Kevin Love. However, Simmons’ possible arrival, as noted, could further give the club the star power it needs to lure top-tier free agents in the years to come. He also has the talent and proven production to possibly help the Cavaliers end the playoff drought that started right after LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency in 2018.
“It is difficult to rebuild in the NBA. The Cavaliers have added some intriguing prospects in the draft but ultimately need that star to take their team to the next level. Simmons could be that player.”
Shortly after Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey respectively joined the Sixers as the team’s new head coach and president of basketball operations, both men stressed that they have no plans of moving either Simmons or Embiid. NBA Analysis Network speculated that they might have changed their mind on Simmons due to Harris’ improved offensive play, though if the hypothetical transaction becomes a reality, Garland could partially replace the former No. 1 overall draft pick’s contributions as a ballhandler.
While it wasn’t mentioned how Nance and Osman can contribute to Philadelphia if the trade takes place, both have been among the Cavs’ top players in the 2020-21 campaign. According to Basketball-Reference, Nance is currently averaging 10.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.3 steals, while Osman is producing 13.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game and shooting 36.5 percent from beyond the arc.