While the NBA postseason has finally reached the conference finals, a lot of the basketball world’s attention has been focused on Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
Once viewed as a promising rising star with impressive defensive abilities, Simmons’ drew the ire of fans, teammates and even his coach with how he played in the 76ers second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. The 25-year-old just refused to shoot the ball when he should have, which played a significant role in Philadelphia’s elimination. After all, a $177 million player should be averaging more than 6.3 points over his last three games. As a result, BetOnline has released odds on potential Ben Simmons trade destinations and the Portland Trail Blazers (+200) and Washington Wizards (+300) are the two leading candidates.
He has four years remaining on his deal and is scheduled to have a $33 million cap hit next season.
On one hand, the Trail Blazers are trying to shake things up. They failed to go on another deep playoff run this season, Terry Stotts is out as the head coach and C.J. McCollum is rumoured to be available for trade. It just makes sense for Portland to contact Philadelphia about a potential trade involving both McCollum and Simmons. The Trail Blazers would get to improve their defense that allowed 114.8 points per game last season (23rd) while giving Simmons the chance to rehabilitate his career. Meanwhile, the 76ers would get back McCollum, who would bring in more perimeter offense.
On the other, the Wizards could look to shake things up this offseason. They probably wouldn’t trade Bradley Beal for Ben Simmons in his current form, however, Russell Westbrook is an option. The 32-year-old averaged 22.2 PPG/11.5 RPG/11.7 APG in 2020-21 and could bring experience to take the 76ers further in next year’s postseason. If not, Washington also has younger guys like Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant to make a trade work.
Ben Simmons Trade Destination Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Tuesday, June 22
- Portland Trail Blazers (+200)
- Washington Wizards (+300)
- San Antonio Spurs (+400)
- Utah Jazz (+500)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+550)
- Golden State Warriors (+600)
Complete odds list available at BetOnline.ag.
Spurs Another Potential Landing Spot
At +400 odds, the San Antonio Spurs have the third-best shot at landing Ben Simmons. Being trade to San Antonio might be the perfect situation for the young point guard. For starters, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is one of the best bench bosses in the league. If anyone can get Simmons back on track, it’s him. The Spurs have always focused on defense and that’s one of the point guard’s strengths. Perhaps playing in a system that magnifies what he does best could help out a lot.
There’s also the fact that Popovich helped turn DeMar DeRozan into a better shooter after he was acquired from the Toronto Raptors a few offseasons ago. DeRozan went from shooting .448 from the field in Toronto to .501 over his last three seasons in San Antonio. While the four-time all-star has always been a better shooter than Simmons, it still shows the effects that Popovich can have.
Speaking of DeRozan, he’s set to become a free agent this offseason. Considering how he may want to chase a championship as his career winds down, San Antonio could be wise to attempt to sign and trade him to Philadelphia in a deal involving Ben Simmons. It would work for the Spurs because they shouldn’t want to lose DeRozan without a return, plus they would get a young player who still could have a great NBA career. It’d also benefit the 76ers because they would get another legitimate option to play alongside Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Obviously, some other pieces could be involved, but this is a deal that could work for all teams and players involved.