So, as it turns out, the Philadelphia 76ers–who were, of course, eliminated by the Boston Celtics in two of their last four postseason series losses–are very much going to get rid of Ben Simmons before the start of the 2021-22 season.
They have to.
Simmons is never suiting up for the Sixers again, and he won’t report to training camp regardless of the fines he will incur for doing so. He’s putting his money where his mouth is and it’s somewhat admirable. Clearly, the pairing with Joel Embiid is going nowhere fast. Simmons should do what is best for his career.
Doing so in this way is the norm in the modern NBA, for better or for worse.
Anyway, since we know he is being moved, Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens’ name comes to mind. He has been the most active general manager on the trade market and could use one last signature move to bolster Ime Udoka’s first roster.
Is Simmons that move? He is a better facilitator than what they currently have, but most fans would probably prefer to have Marcus Smart on the roster.
Because if a deal does indeed go down, you bet your bottom dollar Smart’s contract will be headed to the City of Brotherly Love…besides for Simmons of course.
Chowder and Champions’ Owen Crisafulli aptly called Smart a key piece in any potential Simmons-Celtics deal:
"If Simmons is to be traded to the Boston Celtics, Smart is probably one of the key pieces heading back to Philadelphia. In fairness, Smart probably fits the 76ers system better than he does Boston’s, as they are looking for willing three point shooters to play around Embiid and Tobias Harris. As we all know, Smart is a willing shooter if nothing else."
This aligns with what C&C editor Tarringo Basile-vaughan said about a week ago (week ago).
Smart, Mattise Thybulle, and Joel Embiid in one lineup covers most of the floor defensively, and a Smart-Seth Curry backcourt is brilliantly balanced.
This could be a move that makes Philadelphia better, but what about Boston?
Simmons’ presence would clutter up the spacing in the lineup but could also force Udoka to play at a breakneck pace.
If Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum can keep up (there’s no evidence to the contrary), perhaps the Cs would also benefit from such a deal.
It all depends, of course, on what other pieces are included in the deal. But the framework is more than feasible.