After Ben Simmons suffered a knee injury, the Philadelphia 76ers headed into the 2020 NBA Playoffs without one of the best players on their roster. As of now, they are already three losses away from being eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round. However, if they manage to bounce back and make a deep postseason, rumors are circulating that the Sixers could finally explore trading Simmons in the 2020 offseason.
One of the most intriguing trade partners for the Sixers in the potential deal involving Simmons this fall is the Chicago Bulls. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Bulls should strongly consider targeting Simmons if they win the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. In the proposed scenario, the Bulls would be sending a trade package that includes Zach Lavine, Lauri Markkanen, and the 2020 No. 1 overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Simmons.
If the deal pushes through, Swartz believes that it would benefit both the Sixers and the Bulls.
“For Chicago, getting Simmons would mean letting him have full control of a team for the first time in his career and unlocking his potential in whatever role the new head coach sees fit. The Bulls wouldn’t have gutted the roster for him, either, filling out a starting lineup with Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White, Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter Jr. Already playing in a major market, the Bulls would suddenly become a far more attractive free-agent destination and would project to open up max cap space in 2021.”
Parting ways with Simmons would undeniably be a tough decision for the Sixers, but it’s something that they should consider if it means acquiring players that fit Joel Embiid’s game. The potential deal would allow Philadelphia to add two players who are both capable of spacing the floor in LaVine and Markkanen. This season, LaVine established an All-Star caliber performance, averaging 25.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.5 steals on 45.0 percent shooting from the field and 38.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
Meanwhile, though he has shown a decline with his numbers, Markkanen remains a force to be reckoned with under the basket and a legitimate threat from the three-point range. With LaVine as their starting shooting guard and Markkanen as their starting power forward, the Sixers could form a new core with Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Shake Milton that could give them a better chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title next year. Also, using the No. 1 pick, the Sixers could fill the hole Simmons’ would be leaving at the point guard position by selecting either Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball in the upcoming draft.