As the Sixers try to weather the ben simmons storm and find a way out of the three-time all-star’s latest tantrum, daryl morey is no doubt making phone calls about potential trades. The sooner the Simmons Saga ends, the better, for everyone involved.
but morey has been famously stingy in his trade demands since june, looking for a star in exchange for simmons…which has produced very few concrete trade opportunities.
Reading: Ben simmons trade rumors raptors
if the nba’s damian lillards and bradley beals are out of your league, what else could interest you when it comes to a return for simmons?
nba insider marc stein thinks the sixers’ president of basketball operations might be considering a future star, north of the border.
In a Wednesday column on his substack, stein hinted at a possible next option for morey at the start of the season:
“the draft compensation involved in any eventual simmons trade appears to be a differentiating variable, but the raptors have the base talent to outbid numerous teams (if they so choose) when philadelphia finally gets to the point where he concedes it’s no longer tenable to expect a star at the level of lillard or beal rather than looking for a pascal siakam centered trade it’s easier to see philadelphia trying to push to acquire a rising star capable of replicating the simmons’ versatility, i.e. og anunoby, who can combine with a playoff-proven veteran ball handler to give the sixers’ backcourt the needed boost (goran dragić).
“That’s not to say Toronto would be up for it. Simmons’ tumultuous first week back with the Sixers hasn’t exactly improved his pierced trade value and Masai Ujiri, Morey’s Toronto counterpart, is said to have,’ loves anunoby who is about to make a big step into the post kyle lowry era given the potential he has already shown as a defender, playmaker and shooter surrendering to anunoby at this pivotal stage of his development might be too much Painful for the Raptors, even if they’re tempted by the opportunity to relaunch Simmons’ career. I’m just saying Morey will try.”
insert russell westbrook “oh that’s very interesting!” gif here.
It is important to note, before proceeding, that stein’s column was a prediction-style piece, and he is not framing any of these claims as hard reporting. it would be dishonest to pretend that stein’s propaganda here means that the sixers are locked in pursuit of an anunoby trade.
as with any number of insider information from abundant sources, even when they speculate that it comes from a specific point of knowledge. Stein basically knows as much about the musings and interests of the NBA front office as any reporter on the planet. if he’s predicting that morey will “try” to go after anunoby (and maybe dragić too) in a trade, and he’s deliberately naming anunoby in the first paragraph, it’s probably not entirely random.
So, let’s move on to the normal questions: what would trading look like? and would it be a solid deal for the sixers?
In terms of viability, exchanging simmons for anunoby and dragić works well financially. If the Sixers want to ask for a draft pick, considering they’re giving up the dpoy runner-up and three-time all-star who is theoretically entering his athletic prime, Toronto owns their first-round picks until the end of the decade. what’s up…
See also: 527 Surfer Boy Names – Listophile
phi receives: anunoby, dragić, 2023 first-round pick
tor receives: ben simmons
we have a deal.
Is it worth doing? I think so. anunoby is young (she’s 24 until next July), cost-conscious (her cap is under $20 million each year through 2024-25), and good. he shoots the ball well, shooting 39.8% of his 3-point attempts on 6.1 attempts per game last season. he’s a solid enough free throw shooter. As Stein pointed out, he became more of a playmaker last year when he saw more minutes. and at 6-foot-7, he has the size to defend the long wings we see on the three around the league. I really like anunoby’s advantage as a starting forward and a third option on a contending team.
dragić is a much better known product, a 35-year-old point guard on an expiring contract who can run an offense and shoot the ball. he wouldn’t be next year, but that’s not really the point. Acquiring Dragić would help the Sixers contend for the playoffs this year while giving them flexibility next season.
Overall, is this a perfect trade? No. the sixers would continue to get worse in the short term. But at this point in the Simmons saga, Morey should try to end the tension as soon as possible so the Sixers can just move on and focus on this season while trying to maximize the window on MVP Joel Embiid.
so if morey is really interested in a deal like this, i’d take it and run, and then start concentrating on basketball instead of all the fuss around it.