The Trade Game, Featuring Ben Simmons


Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers

Maximo Legaspi, Editor

Ben Simmons is one of the best rising stars in the NBA. The 6-foot-11 point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers has shown his aptitude for both playmaking and defense, earning him multiple All-Star, All-NBA and All-Defensive team selections, and even a Rookie of the Year award. Despite this, his reputation has dipped in recent months. After choking away a 2-1 lead against the Atlanta Hawks, punctuated by an extremely passive and lackluster Game 7 performance, it seems all the criticism has made him worse.

Many of his critics point out his passiveness on offense and unwillingness to improve his game, along with his off-the-court behavior as reasons for his poor play. To make the situation worse, Simmons was kicked out of practice by coach Doc Rivers following a “reluctance to physically and mentally engage” with the team since his return, per NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Even his teammate, star center Joel Embiid, voiced his problems with Simmons. “At this point, I don’t care about that man, honestly. He does whatever he wants,” Embiid said. This comes as a shock, since Embiid had been supportive of Simmons in the past. Pair this with general manager Daryl Morey’s repeated and failed attempts to trade him and it seems Simmons’ time in Philadelphia is coming to a close.

But what do NBA fans think about this situation? Many think that he should be traded. Michael Avery, a junior at Bishop Ireton, thinks a rebuilding franchise could use Simmons’ talents, saying “Either the Timberwolves or the Kings…he can be their number one option and show what he really has.” 

Sam Cockrell, a junior here at DeMatha, thinks this, as well. He believes teams like the Houston Rockets or the Detroit Pistons are good landing spots for Simmons. “Both of them have been really underwhelming the past couple seasons,” Cockrell said. “They would just need some star potential and an all star player to get them in the right direction.”

Alternatively, Avery thinks a reduced role could help Simmons grow. “He should go somewhere (where) he could be like a 3rd star so he won’t get as much attention on him.”

DeMatha senior Austin Boynes sees the 2020 Eastern Conference champions, the Miami Heat, as a possible destination for Simmons. Along with a reunion with former teammate Jimmy Butler, they would “be a contender if everybody is healthy,” according to Boynes. “Ben had his own team in Philly but he won’t have that in Miami which I think can be good for him.” He also agreed that the Heat’s defense would be great if Simmons was to join.

One of the teams the Sixers tried to trade Simmons to was the Golden State Warriors, who turned down their request of rookie center James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, and the 7th and 14th pick in the 2021 NBA draft along with two future first round picks, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite this, junior Jaden Osborne wants Simmons on the Warriors. “Golden State has a bunch of shooters right now and I think with Ben Simmons’ defense and finishing skills they would be a definite Finals contender.” Osborne is confident in Simmons’ skillset, and believes some work on his offense will make him a complete player.

Another trade rumor floating around these past few months was a swap with the Portland Trailblazers for star guard Damian Lillard and/or CJ McCollum. Junior Stephen McDonald doubts the possibility, both of the trade and a possible fit. McDonald thinks that having both Lillard and Simmons “would be a disaster” on the same team. He also thinks the Washington Wizards could use Simmons, as they “need less people that will shoot.” A possible trade that he thought of was sending Washington’s stretch forward Davis Bertans and a future second round pick to Philadelphia for Simmons, but he still doubts that would work, too. McDonald believes that the Sixers will have to settle for a trade deal they don’t like, as Simmons’ trade value is so low.

Ben Simmons’ future on the Sixers is uncertain, to say the least. Even after multiple attempts to trade him and mend the relationship, it seems that both sides are unwilling to make a move. Still, Philadelphia is in a position to contend for a championship this season, and if they want to have a chance, it is important for them to capitalize on the situation and make a decision in the near future.