The NBA trade deadline is only six weeks away, so expect the Ben Simmons’ rumors to start revving up again. The Philadelphia 76ers have been entertaining offers since July, although their incredibly high asking price has stalled momentum.
Some of that had to do with the Sixers’ hot start – 8-2 over the first two weeks – but that has disappeared faster than Simmons’ jumper. Blame COVID-19 and a rash of physical injuries for sending them back to reality. Either way, it’s probably time to make a move.
The Athletic’s John Hollinger presented a few scenarios in his “NBA Trade Season Primer” and one sticks out like a sore thumb. What if Philly sent their disgruntled point guard to Indiana? Not for Myles Turner and Caris LeVert which has been previously reported.
Hollinger, via Seth Partnow, proposes a package deal sending Simmons – along with Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe – to the Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, Chris Duarte, and T.J. Warren. The salaries match and the acquisition of the 6-foot-11 Sabonis would create a new Twin Towers in Philly when paired with Joel Embiid, one reminiscent of those old San Antonio Spurs teams with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
Sabonis has two years left on his current contract at $20 million a year, as Hollinger pointed out, and Philly could look to trade him next offseason if a Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal becomes available.
“Sabonis is a weird fit with Embiid but can actually throw an entry pass, unlike most of the other Sixers,” Hollinger wrote. “He also would let the Sixers thrive in the non-Embiid minutes, where they currently get trucked and would provide a store of value for future deals in the offseason.”
The nay-sayers might say, what about Andre Drummond? While he has been a dominant rebounder and shot-blocker off the bench, he doesn’t provide the all-around game that Sabonis does. It’s not a bad return for a Sixers’ team in win-now mode. Stay tuned as the trade deadline is February 10.
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Doc Rivers ‘Feeling Good’ in Protocol
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was placed in the COVID-19 protocol on Thursday. Assistant Dan Burke stepped in for him on December 30 against the Brooklyn Nets. Prior to tip-off, Burke addressed the media to update Rivers’ status.
“He says he feels good. He’s not the least bit worried,” Burke told reporters, via Yahoo! Sports. “If there’s anybody who just takes things in stride and keeps it real and keeps it relative, it’s Doc. That’s the lead we’ve got to follow.”
Sixers Announcer Tests Positive, Too
Sixers play-by-play announcer Kate Scott also entered the league’s health and safety protocols on Thursday. Scott revealed the news on Twitter and informed everyone that she was experiencing “mild symptoms” but otherwise fine thanks to being “vaxxed and boosted.”
Alaa Abdelnaby was also forced to sit out the call. Radio play-by-play announcer Tom McGinnis joined NBC Sports Philadelphia TV studio analyst Marc Jackson in the broadcast booth on Thursday night to call the Nets-Sixers game. The duo was drawing rave reviews on social media for their fill-in work. Broadcasting controversy? We’re kidding, stop it.
NBA Rumors: Sixers Swap Ben Simmons for New ‘Twin Towers’