Many different teams have been floated as potential landing spots for Ben Simmons. But where would watching him be the most fun?
With the 2021-22 season quickly approaching, Ben Simmons remains a Sixer. Though there have been rumors of a potential hold-out if he is not traded before the season begins, the team’s sense of urgency seems to have waned a bit. Of course, this could mean nothing since many trades come unexpectedly. Regardless, the consensus remains that it remains a matter of when the Sixers trade Simmons, rather than if they will.
Over the course of these talks, a handful of teams have been frequently mentioned as the most likely destination for Simmons. As someone who derives a lot of pleasure watching Ben Simmons play basketball, I’ve been thinking about which new team, of the ones most often and recently mentioned as potential landing spots for him, I would most enjoy seeing him join. Below are five teams that have been linked to Simmons, ranked from the most depressing place for him to play to the most enjoyable.
Which Ben Simmons trade provides the most potential for basketball fun?
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
I do not love the Cavaliers current roster as a whole, but I think they’ve got a lot of interesting (and potentially actually good) young players. In time, I imagine they will have to make some difficult choices — Sexton or Garland, Mobley or Allen, how and when to unload Kevin Love — but for now, they can adopt a wait-and-see attitude. If they acquired Simmons, they would have to give up a few of these young pieces and likely abandon their more patient approach.
However, if Cleveland were able to keep some combination of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Isaac Okoro, then watching Simmons alongside them could be a delight. They would certainly be one of the fastest and most athletic teams in the NBA, but likely not a winning one. And that’s why imagining Simmons in Cleveland bums me out; it would feel like exiling him, like punishing him by putting him alongside a number of developing players that are years away from making any real noise in the Eastern Conference. Though on the bright side, his playoff struggles wouldn’t matter there.
4. Indiana Pacers
Judging by what can be gleaned from the rumor mill, Indiana is the least likely landing spot of these five teams. That said, the thought of Simmons teaming up with Domantas Sabonis intrigues me even though I’m not sure it makes a ton of sense. Both players are young, multi-talented All-Stars who are nightly triple-double threats. However, Sabonis and Simmons get the majority of their points in the paint and one wonders if spacing would be an issue if they were teammates. If nothing else, they would make one of the most unique duos in the league; I’d at least like to see them play five to ten games together. Also, Rick Carlisle has experience coaching dynamic young playmakers and while Simmons is not going to be able to play like Luka Doncic, it would be interesting to see what Carlisle’s offense would look like with Simmons running the show.
3. San Antonio Spurs
How fun this would be depends entirely on what exactly the Spurs would have to give up to Philadelphia. If Ben Simmons gets to play with at least two or three of Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, and Derrick White, then San Antonio would immediately become a League Pass darling. Also coach Gregg Popovich has always been good at putting his players in positions where they can thrive, which is not something Simmons’ previous coaches have seemed to prioritize. Playing on the Spurs, Simmons could be placed in more advantageous situations than ever before and help further the development of their young players while improving the team on both ends of the floor. The Spurs have seemed a bit adrift since dealing Kawhi Leonard three years ago; acquiring Simmons could be the first step of a new, more intentional era.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
I would love to see Ben Simmons and Karl-Anthony Towns play together. Simmons would immediately become the second-best teammate Towns has ever had after Jimmy Butler and would greatly increase Minnesota’s playoff chances. He would be a defensive anchor for a team severely lacking in plus-defenders as well as a playmaker who could make things easier for the team’s high-scoring trio of Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards. The thing that bums me out about this potential deal is that Philadelphia would likely insist on getting D’Angelo Russell in any Simmons deal, which bums me out a lot in light of what good friends Russell and Towns are. I just want KAT to be happy, you know? That’s what matters most.
1. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are already one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA thanks to the ingenuity of Stephen Curry. And they will be even more fun next season with Klay Thompson returning to the line-up after a two-year absence. Ben Simmons joining these two would open up innumerable scoring opportunities for everyone. His playmaking would create looks for the team’s shooters while the gravity of Steph and Klay would open up lanes for drives and cuts. The Sixers may be able to convince a team to give them more in exchange for Simmons than the Warriors would be willing to, but there’s no team that Simmons would make more thrilling than Golden State.