Philadelphia 76ers: An actual Pacers’ package worth Ben Simmons

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

On a sleepy, unsuspecting Friday in South Philadelphia, news leaked out that the first official trade proposal had been submitted for the services of Philadelphia 76ers do-it-all BBaller Ben Simmons.

*exhales* it’s happening; it’s finally happening!

Now, to be fair, the package in question isn’t great. If the report from Jason Dumas is true, the Indiana Pacers offered a package of Malcolm Brogdon and an unspecified first-round pick for Simmons straight up, to which Daryl Morey respectfully gave a thumbs down.

Was Morey right to reject the Pacers’ proposal? 100 percent. That was a low-ball offer if I’ve ever seen one, but hey, just because that particular package wasn’t sufficient doesn’t mean something better couldn’t be worked out. If the Pacers are still interested, there are certainly potential packages to be had that could not only help the Philadelphia 76ers now but establish a winning corps moving forward.

The Philadelphia 76ers could fetch a solid supporting cast from the Pacers.

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Malcolm Brogdon is a fine player.

If he was swapped in for Tobias Harris on this current Philadelphia 76ers’ roster, the squad would likely still be playing now and would potentially still be favored to represent the East in the NBA Finals versus Dario Saric and the Phoenix Suns.

But honestly, objectively, Brogdon just isn’t a star.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean Brogdon is a bad player. He’s actually a pretty darn good player, a fantastic leader, and the sort of guy every GM would love to have in a locker room, but his playing style doesn’t really mesh with the stone-cold killer Philly is reportedly targeting. Brogdon’s best role would be paired up with that player, as he’s a good enough shooter/passer/defender/etc. to fill in any gaps in a top guard’s game.

Brogdon, even with the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, doesn’t make the Sixers better than their current roster, even if they’d be better in a few key areas.

But what if the Pacers are willing to expand out the deal? Say throw in T.J. Warren and Aaron Holiday? Then, my friends, we might be talking.

For those out of the know, Warren was initially traded to the Pacers alongside the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns for cash considerations in order to free up cap space heading into free agency.

Yeah, you read that correctly; the Suns traded a player who averaged 18.9 points and 4.7 rebounds a night over the previous two seasons for cash in order to sign *checks notes* Ricky Rubio and Frank Kaminsky in free agency.


Since arriving in Indiana, Warren has established himself as one of the better offensive forwards in the Eastern Conference, averaging 19.8 points per game as the Pacers’ starting small forward. He’s knocked down 39.1 percent of his 3 point attempts over 71 regular-season games with the Pacers and made waves in the Orlando Bubble, where he averaged 26.6 points per game over his 10 game tenure, including one particularly impressive contest where he went for 53 versus the Philadelp… their opening night opponent.

With Simmons gone and Danny Green potentially following suit shortly thereafter (more on that here), Warren could slot in as the Sixers’ new small forward, playing between Seth Curry and Tobias Harris. At 6-foot-8, Warren provides good size at the position, even if he’s not a particularly good defender, and could help to replicate the two scoring forwards look Doc Rivers relied on in the post-Lob City-era of Los Angeles Clippers basketball.

And as for Aaron Holiday? Well, he’s a promising young combo guard who shoots 37 percent from 3, scores an average of 7.7 points per game, and just so happens to be the younger brother of Jrue and Justin, both of whom played for the Sixers in years past.

Could you even imagine how troll-y it would be for Daryl Morey to trade away the crown jewel of “The Process” for the 24-year-old brother of the player Sam Hinkie initially moved to set said process in motion? That would be an all-time move right up there with the Steph Curry tweet or the James Harden tweet.

Between you and me, I think Morey is 100 percent that petty.

Now sure, is there potential variation in such a trade package? Most definitely. Maybe Morey would rather land another All-Star of his own and could opt to Domantas Sabonis over a player like Warren, even if his fit next to Embiid isn’t quite as smooth. Heck, maybe Morey just isn’t a big fan of Brogdon and instead would be willing to center a package around Caris LeVert, T.J. Warren, and the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft?

While LeVert may not be a proven household name, he was a dominant closer during his four-year tenure at the University of Michigan and has shown incredible flashes of two-way potential at times during his NBA career. Maybe Morey wants to take a page from his early career – aka identifying a young scorer in a less than advantageous schematic role – and hope that LeVert’s flashes as a distributor will be fully unlocked as the team’s primary offensive facilitator a la James Harden back in Houston.

Granted, LeVert will probably never be the next Harden, as very few are, but he’s two years younger than Brogdon and a far more athletic finisher around the hoop. Maybe Morey would rather land a proven scorer – Warren – and take a shot on a play with a bit more room to grow as the second tentpole of a Simmons trade over a really good but capped-out role player.

At this point, no option should be off the table. If the best Philly can get for Simmons’ services is Brogdon, LeVert, and the 13th overall pick they need to weigh that versus keeping the do-it-all point guard/forward into 2022.

Next. Letting Danny Green walk in free agency is a mistake. dark

By submitting a trade proposal for Ben Simmons’ services, even if it wasn’t a particularly good one, the flood gates have officially opened for what should be a massively interesting summer for the Philadelphia 76ers. Maybe the team trades their 24-year-old superstar for Damian Lillard; maybe they accept a package featuring a few quality role players; maybe they don’t do anything and instead hope some better offers are on the table around the NBA trade deadline. Regardless, I’m beyond excited to see how it shakes out.