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Would The Boston Celtics Actually Trade For 76ers’ Ben Simmons?

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at November 8, 2021

The Philadelphia 76ers have yet to find a destination for Ben Simmons following his trade request this offseason, and it doesn’t appear that an imminent solution exists. On Monday, however, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Boston Celtics had “engaged in conversations with the 76ers revolving around Simmons and expressed interest in the 6-foot-11 guard.”

The report unsurprisingly drew plenty of attention from around the league, just as many Simmons rumors have over the last few months. According to Charania, the 76ers would want a package that included all-star wing Jaylen Brown in return from Boston. Philadelphia has been rumored to have a high asking price for Simmons, and this report certainly continues that narrative.

It’s important to look at this from a surface-level viewpoint. NBA front offices discuss potential trades every single day. If an all-star like Ben Simmons is on the market, even with his recent issues, Philadelphia is going to get calls. That is inevitable. This particular situation doesn’t have an end in sight, and the longer it lasts, the more teams will reach out to Daryl Morey and the Sixers. It isn’t crazy for Brad Stevens, Boston’s president of basketball operations, to reach out to Morey and do his due diligence. Why not kick the tires on Simmons? If the return package does require Brown, however, the Boston-Philadelphia call was likely pretty short.

Trading Brown for Simmons just doesn’t make any sense for the Celtics. Remember when Boston was doing its due diligence on a James Harden trade with Houston? Well, the front office was hesitant to move Brown in that deal, so what makes the Sixers think they would give up the 25-year-old win for Simmons and all of the baggage that comes with him? The answer is pretty simple: they wouldn’t.

Of course Philadelphia is going to have a high asking price for Simmons. His resume is better than most available NBA players, and Morey isn’t going to start discussions by looking to settle on a return. From Boston’s point of view, the only way you would even think about moving Brown is if Philadelphia was going to attach a bunch of high-quality young assets and/or picks to Simmons in the deal. Every indication says that won’t happen, and even if that was an offer, I’m not sure Boston would be interested (and rightfully so).

Brown is an all-star level talent with two full years left on his contract. His deal has an average annual value of under $29 million for each of those seasons. So, Boston has an all-star for below-market value who is currently averaging 25.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on 49.3% shooting (39.7% 3PT). Why on earth would the Celtics move him for Simmons? Again, they wouldn’t.

Boston’s roster is starved for additional shooting. It isn’t breaking news that this area isn’t Simmons’ strong suit, to put it politely. Moving a high-volume 3-point shooter for Simmons and his current struggles makes no sense, but that is amplified on this current Celtics roster. Boston has serious spacing concerns, and Simmons would worsen those issues immediately.

If the Celtics wanted to pursue a deal for Simmons without Brown, it would likely have to include players such as Marcus Smart and Robert Williams. Their new contracts, along with Josh Richardson’s, make them movable pieces in future trades, and in a Simmons deal, Boston would need to move north of $26 million for salary matching purposes. The Simmons fit doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Celtics, even if they could do it without Brown being involved, although that seems very unlikely at this point. Simmons is currently in year two of a five-year, $177 million deal.

Stevens and the Celtics front office know that trading Brown in a deal for Simmons is a bad idea. They wouldn’t do it. But reaching out to Philadelphia to do their due diligence does make sense — why wouldn’t they? By the time this Simmons saga ends, every NBA team will have done so. If Morey is looking to get a player of Brown’s caliber in return, however, Simmons isn’t going anywhere for a while.

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