The Detroit Pistons have been linked with Ben Simmons as a team “still investigating” the availability of the disgruntled Sixers playmaker, according to Sixers writer Keith Pompey.
Do I think an agreement will come up? Not at all. Will that stop stories like this that tie a handful of teams to Simmons by the day he is traded? Not at all? Do I think the Pistons actually called about Simmons’ availability at some point? Without a doubt.
But once you’re one of those teams flagged as being in the mix, it’s hard to escape as a “team of interest”. Once that’s true, it doesn’t matter if that means there is a 0.0001% chance that you will get the player or a 99% chance that you will still be a suitor.
Will this Sixers saga end soon? Honestly, I don’t think so. The Sixers know they need to trade Simmons, and they know they’ll be a good team even if he’s out. They also know that the deals currently being made for Simmons offer such marginal returns that it’s not as if that would move the needle in Philly in any significant way.
If Daryl Morey thinks the Sixers are a top 4 team in the East without Simmons, what’s the motivation to trade him now and not closer to the NBA trade deadline in February? Especially since Simmons is committed to staying out of Philly even if it means losing game controls.
The only pressure will be on an increasingly annoyed team who will be asked endlessly about Simmons. If they can weather this storm, the Sixers will likely be patient.
They just have to wait until the end of the season until another team joins the ranks of those who are desperate to turn things around because something has gone horribly wrong.
That could boost the market a bit, and then if a reasonable deal suddenly surfaces all of the other low-ball Philly franchises could now increase their offerings because, at the end of the day, Simmons is still a really good player.
Does that mean I want it on the Pistons? Ugggggghhhhh … I was afraid you were going to ask that.
Deep in my heart, the answer is not just because Simmons brings a lot of talent but an equal amount of potential headaches.
Trying to figure out what the adjustment would look like in Detroit would require us to figure out what it would actually cost in Detroit. The answer starts with Jerami Grant and perhaps continues on to a Killian Hayes or a future lightly protected first-round pick.
It’s no small feat, but based on sheer talent getting Simmons, 25, defensive player of the year is an improvement over extremely good but will never be a big Grant.
A deal like this was actually started by our Sixers friends at Liberty Ballers. They determined that Hayes was actually too high a price to pay for Detroit and a bad choice for Philly, which I fully understand. They traded Cory Joseph for Hayes and also called Saddiq Bey out of bounds. Joseph, it should be noted, along with Kelly Olynyk, could only be traded in December as they are newly signed by Detroit.
From Philly’s perspective, the big question is whether former Piston Tobias Harris and former Piston Jerami Grant could actually coexist and be successful at both Detroit forwards. Both players are “best suited” to the strong striker position, but also frustrate you just enough to want to throw them on a small striker to see if that will work. Maybe playing them together would be great?
A Grant-Joseph-marginal selection deal for Simmons would be an obvious winner for Detroit from an asset management perspective. But Simmons is more than an asset.
He alienated his teammates and reportedly kicked Jimmy Butler out of Philly because Simmons wanted the ball in his hands at all times. He’s also recently made some noise (allegedly) that he wants a team built around him.
Can you give Ben Simmons everything he wants while maximizing the effectiveness of overall No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham? I have my doubts. Can you reap the benefits of Simmons while dealing with all the drawbacks? There too I have doubts.
And Simmons’ self-imposed limitations – meaning not only an inability to shoot but an outright refusal to shoot jumps – do they mean there will be a playoff hit cap that means nothing more than an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals and a quick out?
Maybe things would be different if a team were really built entirely around Simmons. That would definitely require four quality outside shooters and the ball in Simmons’ hands a lot. Your mileage may vary.
Me, I’m going to pass, and I’m not going to think about it too much because this deal still has a near zero percent chance of going through no matter how many stories tie Detroit to Simmons.