The Philadelphia 76ers are still looking for a trade partner to unload disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons. This saga has been going on for five months, when the Hawks upset the 76ers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, although it feels like years. The San Antonio Spurs have often been mentioned as potential suitors for the 25-year-old guard.
There are two main reasons I’m unsure Simmons will ever find himself in the Silver and Black. First, do the Spurs have a player the Sixers would even want? We know the Spurs have a ton of underrated talent, but I highly doubt Daryl Morey reads my articles. His loss.
Secondly, the Spurs are dead last in 3-point attempts per game and Simmons is famously one of the least confident shooters ever, so he would not affect the Spurs positively in this area.
Last season, the Spurs were last in the league in 3-point attempts per game. They haven’t improved at all. Last season, the 76ers were 26th in the league in attempts per game, so clearly Simmons was not helping create shots for others, either.
If Spurs fans can cope with abandoning the three-ball altogether, a backcourt of Dejounte Murray and Simmons could work as a defensive duo. Simmons would probably handle the ball and Murray would be the off-guard who would be a catch-and-shoot threat. I could see that working.
If you’re a Sixers fan reading this, I might have lost you. “What do you mean, Murray and Simmons in the backcourt? Surely Murray would be the focal piece in the return package!” Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, Philadelphia, but your demands are just too much.
Philadelphia reportedly wants a top-30 player in return for Simmons, but every single player in the top 30 is in a comfortable spot right now where they won’t get traded, or just don’t want to. Dejounte Murray is a top 30 player and the face of the Spurs’ franchise. The Spurs simply should not give him up.
San Antonio should also not mortgage its whole future. This includes Chicago’s 2026 1st round pick, Devin Vassell, and Josh Primo. Everyone else should be on the table. Here's what an offer should look like that won't give up future assets but still give Philadelphia a wealth of young talent.
The trade I’m proposing is Thaddeus Young, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Keldon Johnson in return for Simmons. Keldon Johnson could play alongside Tobias Harris and Embiid in the frontcourt, and Derrick White and Seth Curry could split minutes at the shooting guard role. Walker has recently been proving he can handle a significant role off the bench, and I just want to see Thaddeus Young play on a top-tier team.
The Spurs would have a ball-dominant, defensive pairing of Murray and Simmons, and surround them with shooters Devin Vassell and Doug McDermott in the starting five. Jakob Poeltl would round out the paint. With Vassell moved into the starting five and White and Johnson gone, Joshua Primo would have to take on a larger role. I think this is a good thing, but in case he isn’t ready, the Spurs would have to give more minutes to Bryn Forbes (sigh).
I’m not sure if both teams would go for this trade. Simmons is still a valuable asset for the Sixers and they might get a better offer. The Spurs might not want to part with two starters and their sixth man, but in order to get an All-Star, big moves have to be made.
Popovich and Simmons would either be best friends or end up killing each other. Spurs fans would have big feelings about this, but the 76ers would be happy to end their saga. If the Spurs can get a happy Simmons without mortgaging their future, I say go for it. Murray and Simmons are both only 25, so they would be getting a younger guard who has a higher ceiling than anyone they’re giving up.
I don’t want to see Keldon Johnson go, but for this package, both teams could make it work and probably be in a better place after it’s all said and done.