Everyone has their favorite pet Ben Simmons trade. None of them are anywhere close to coming to fruition in the near future as talks remain stagnant, sources continue to tell NBC Sports. Still, everyone has the pet trades they think make the most sense. (Mine has become the Pacers with Brogdon at the heart of the package going to the 76ers).
Legendary NBA writer and broadcaster David Aldridge’s pet trade has Simmons going to the Sacramento Kings. But in writing about it at The Athletic, Aldridge threw in an interesting bit of news — Simmons is open to a trade to SacTown.
I’ve written this on Simmons to Sac before, and the rationale still holds. Simmons is an elite defensive player. He’s an elite passer. He has four years left on his deal. (He would have no problem going to Sacramento, I’m told, so strong is his desire to get out of Philadelphia.) The Kings were historically bad defensively last season. Simmons wouldn’t be a savior, but with him and Fox and whichever one of Haliburton or Mitchell the Kings kept in this scenario, Sac would suddenly become a problem defensively, wildly switchable and able to get from defense to offense in a heartbeat.
This shows just how much Simmons wants out of Philly — he’s not saying he will only go to specific teams. (Not that he has the leverage to do so, with four years left on his contract.)
The trade would be something like Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, and a boatload of picks to the 76ers for Simmons (the Kings may have to throw in another player for salary reasons, such as Maurice Harkless). That makes sense for the Kings, putting Simmons in a lineup with De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, and others might be enough to end Sacramentos’ 15-year playoff drought.
It doesn’t work as well for the win-now 76ers, unless Daryl Morey dramatically reduces what he’s seeking in return for Harden. While those standards will drop at some point — especially if the 76ers get off to a slow start — they may not drop enough that a Hield and Haliburton offer will be enough.
But right now, it makes as much sense as any other pet trade.