The Trail Blazers and 76ers have serious questions to address in the 2021 offseason. For the Blazers, they must find a way to build a true title contender around Damian Lillard. For the Sixers, a disappointing postseason exit against the Hawks could force Philadelphia to reshape the foundational pairing of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Simmons, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, endured a postseason run that put his offensive shortcomings firmly in the spotlight. Due to his lack of scoring and confidence on offense, his trade value cratered. Simmons’ slide could put top-level trade targets out of reach for the Sixers, a point that CBS Sports NBA Analyst Brad Botkin pointed out earlier this week.
Even if you believe Simmons’ value can get back to a level where he could fetch a player the caliber of a Beal of Lillard (and this is assuming one of these players actually becomes available) can the increasingly desperate Sixers wait that long? Is it even a risk worth taking?
With that in mind, Botkin explained that a trade that centered around Simmons and CJ McCollum would make sense for both sides.
To be clear, a McCollum-for-Simmons swap discussion hasn’t been reported or really even rumored beyond social speculation. But it makes too much sense for both sides to not be seriously considering it as we speak.
This isn’t going to take much more than a couple of sentences to break down. McCollum, an elite half-court shot creator, fills the exact gap that exists between the Sixers and honest championship contention. Simmons, an elite defender and a tailor-made playmaking forward alongside Lillard, is everything the Blazers need. The money works almost down to the dollar. Both teams are desperate to address these specific roster holes but lack, really, any other meaningful resources to do so.
Simmons recorded averages of 14.3 points and 6.9 assists per game in the 2020-21 season. The 24-year-old wing finished just behind Jazz center Rudy Gobert for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors. His current contract runs through the 2024-25 season. It was reported that the Sixers have already rebuffed an offer from the Pacers that included Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick.
You can read the full story from Botkin at CBS Sports.