Another team has reportedly expressed interest in Ben Simmons.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Celtics have “engaged in conversations with the 76ers” regarding the three-time All-Star, who remains aloof from the team.
Charania adds that “the conversations have been fluid and without traction thus far.”
Latest from @ShamsCharaniaInside pass:
◻️ The Celtics have expressed interest in Ben Simmons
◻️ There is no imminent resolution left regarding a Simmons trade
◻️ Optimism TJ Warren will be able to return in December / January.
◻️ … and much more ⤵️https://t.co/5Uvjcd2jCP
– Atlético (@TheAthletic) November 8, 2021
What would a Simmons deal between the 76ers and Celtics look like? Would an exchange make sense?
Let’s take a closer look.
What would a Ben Simmons deal between the 76ers and Celtics look like?
Assuming Jayson Tatum is off the table, there are a couple of ways the Celtics could build a deal for Simmons without gutting his depth.
The first is to build a package around Al Horford, who is on the books for $ 27.0 million this season. (Horford plus Josh Richardson, for example, does.) The second is to build one around Jaylen Brown, who is on the books for $ 26.8 million this season.
Considering that the 76ers have already seen what Horford looks like alongside Joel Embiid and the fact that they are said to be looking for a star in exchange for Simmons, it’s safe to assume they would only be interested in Brown.
Brown won his first All-Star pick last season. He’s off to a good start this season, averaging a career-best 25.6 points per game with shooting divisions of .493 / .397.780.
Charania said in her report that any potential deal with Simmons “would have to” include Brown.
Would an exchange between Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown make sense?
It would be interesting, that’s for sure.
For the 76ers, Brown would give them a perimeter scorer who’s a good enough shooter to play with Embiid. Brown isn’t as decorated a defender as Simmons, but he’s still quite versatile and disruptive on that end of the court. The 76ers would likely remain one of the best defensive teams in the league with Brown on the roster.
The Philadelphia timeline wouldn’t change much either, as Brown is a few months younger than Simmons.
While Simmons wouldn’t be as clean in Boston as Brown would be in Philadelphia, he would give the Celtics a defensive boost and his form of play could be a nice addition to a team lacking first-pass players. They are likely to run into some space issues with Simmons and Robert Williams on the floor, but the Horford lineups at center would have the potential to help open the floor for Simmons to do what he does best.
POWER RATINGS: Highest X factor in 76ers, Celtics
It helps that Simmons and Horford have played together before. According to PBP Stats, Simmons and Horford played a total of 953 minutes together without Embiid in the 2019-20 season. The lineups with them and without Embiid outperformed opponents by a healthy margin of 5.8 points per 100 possessions.
As Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice pointed outSimmons had arguably the best stretch of his career to date when Horford replaced Embiid at center.
Brown is under contract through the 2023-24 season, while Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 season.
With Brown set to go to free agency a season early and Simmons yet to play this season, it will be interesting to see how much draft compensation would go into reaching a deal if talks between the 76ers and Celtics progress.
Who says no to trade?
Before the season started I featured six different potential packages for Simmons to two members of our staff.
Representing the Celtics, this is what SN’s Kyle Irving wrote regarding the Simmons-Brown trade …
Absolutely not. While it’s fun to think of Simmons, Smart, Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams as a defensive unit, I’m not going to trade Brown for Simmons. If Brown is not yet the best player in all respects, I am sure he will be by the time his current contracts expire.
We seem to know what Simmons’ roof is. The same cannot be said for Brown.
Representing the 76ers, this is what Gilbert McGregor wrote …
Yes. All star? Check. Front court depth? Check. Ready to win now? Check.
As the exchange package ticks all the boxes, this is an attractive deal for the Sixers to do things in a different way. Like Kyle said, we don’t know what Brown can become in this league, but I think he would be a great partner to roll with Embiid.
That is a move that brings you closer to a title.