Ben Simmons’ future is still languishing in uncertainty. He’s not playing for the Philadelphia 76ers because of alleged mental health issues or he could be buying time to find the next team he would play for. Should the Sixers pull the trigger on Simmons’ trade to the Atlanta Hawks?
Simmons can pull a Kevin Durant
It’s hard to imagine that Simons would join his tormentors - the Atlanta Hawks. Last season, the Sixers collapsed against Trae Young’s team in the playoffs. One of the pivotal plays that changed the tide in Atlanta’s favor was Ben passing up a wide-open dunk.
Philadephia lost that series and Simmons' meltdown triggered an avalanche of problems between the forward and the Sixers. Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid released statements that would create a deeper rift in the locker room. The fans have turned their backs against the former number one draft pick, who was once viewed as one of the franchise’s cornerstones. Joining the Hawks seems like a laughable move, but it actually makes sense.
Kevin Durant got ostracized for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. Joining a superstar cast that beat your team in last year’s playoffs was unheard of, but looking at KD now, he’s a 2-time NBA champion. Something that probably would not have happened had he stayed in OKC.
Kevin took all the bashing and trolling in stride because he knew they were part of the consequences of his decision.
Here’s why the Simmons to Hawks move could work
Atlanta is struggling to regain the form they had last season. A player with the caliber of Simmons, who can create his own shots and make plays for his teammates, will be a big boost for the Hawks. As Nekias Duncan from Basketball News played out the scenario, in exchange for the Australian and Shake Milton, the Sixers could receive Bogdan Bogdanović, Cam Reddish, Delon Wright, Jalen Johnson.
Simmons is still an elite passer and defender, and he fits right in Atlanta’s system. His ball-handling skills can help ease the burden off Trae Young. While it makes sense to get Simmons to improve the roster, the Hawks front office could be thinking twice after seeing how the Australian behaved during the standoff with Philadephia. He refused to join drills in practices and initially declined to disclose the mental health experts he’s been working with to address his concerns.
President Daryl Morey claims the Sixers are prepared if the situation lasts longer than expected. The Hawks and the Sixers should explore the possibility of this trade because while it may mean an end of an era for one team, it could mean the start of a new one for the other team.