Philadelphia 76ers: The only trade worse than Ben Simmons for John Wall

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Hey, did you know that Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Houston Rockets for John Wall works cap-wise?

No, you never even thought about the logistics of such an absolutely bizarre trade because you never even once imagined Daryl Morey entertaining such an offer? Well, now you know.

As the Simmons situation continues to push on deep into the month of September, people are getting sort of crazy in regard to trade proposals for the Sixers’ second-best player. Granted, I wouldn’t think that trading Simmons alongside the team’s… fifth (?) best player for a 31-year-old guard a season removed from an Achillies injury who hasn’t been an All-Star since 2017-18, but hey, you do you.

With that being said, I fired up the NBA trade machine, ran the numbers, and found a potential one-for-one swap that is even more ridiculous than exchanging Ben Simmons for John Wall straight up, even if there is a decent enough trade package that could be built around said player’s albatross of a contract.

Fire up your Goodyear Tires, my friends; we’re heading to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio, to check in on Mike Love‘s nephew.

Kevin Love would be a worse fit with the Philadelphia 76ers than John Wall.

John Wall is a better fit with the Philadelphia 76ers than Kevin Love in (almost) every possible way.

He plays a position of need in a Ben Simmons-less world, is two years younger than the pride of UCLA, and most importantly of all, is a positional fit next to Joel Embiid in a starting lineup. While Wall isn’t as efficient from 3 point range – either in his most recent season with the Houston Rockets or during his near-decade tenure with the Washington Wizards – he’s a speedy guard even coming off an injury with a keen eye for an outlet pass and an ability to initiate an offense that very few 6-foot-8 stretch fours can boast even in the modern-day NBA.

If the money was equal and the situations were the same, I doubt the Sixers would trade Simmons for either option straight up, but if they had to, Wall would arguably be the pick due to his fit in a starting lineup next to Embiid and Tobias Harris.

With that out of the way, the Cleveland Cavaliers actually have a number of quality young players on tradeable contracts who would look pretty darn nice in a red, white, and blue uniform moving forward.

Do you want a 6-foot-1 true point guard with a sky-high ceiling? Darius Garland‘s game has a lot of Chris Paul in it, and he would surely blossom playing alongside a center like Embiid and shooters like Harris, Seth Curry, and Furkan Korkmaz. What about a score-crazy combo guard who never saw a shot he didn’t like and has worked tirelessly to go from a B-tier five-star recruit who played in the SEC to a 24.3 points per game scorer on a not-so-good team? If so, Collin Sexton is your guy.

How about wings? The Cavs have Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, and recent sign-and-tradee Lauri Markkanen, who can’t be traded anytime soon but is an option.

Heck, in the right package, the Cavaliers may even be willing to move off of USC third-overall pick Evan Mobley, even if that would surely require the Sixers to attach significant draft capital to get a deal done.

Will any of these players get packaged together for Simmons anytime soon? Statistically speaking, probably not, but theoretically, they all could be in play in varying deals without having to shed a bunch of draft capital to make a deal work.

The same, however, can’t be said for Wall, who is set to make $11.3 million more than Simmons in 2020-21. To make any move involving Wall, the Sixers would have to surrender a minimum of $2.9 million more to make the trade legal, and that’s without adding another player from the Rockets. Add even just one of the team’s quality young prospects – say Kevin Porter or Jae’Sean Tate – and the Sixers suddenly have to give up as much as $4.7 million to get a deal done.

Unless Morey wants to solely target draft picks in a trade for Simmons and isn’t too concerned with saying goodbye to players like Shake Milton, Jaden Springer, Isaiah Joe, and/or Paul Reed to get a deal done for Wall – which would be a certified disaster – there really isn’t a viable path to trade for Wall unless Harris’ contract somehow comes into the picture, which creates a whole lot of new challenges worthy of their own article.

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Is there a scenario where the Philadelphia 76ers take back a bad contract in addition to young, ascending talent to maximize talent in a trade centered around Ben Simmons? Yes. Does what qualifies as a bad contract vary from person to person? Yes as well. To some, trading Simmons for Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole would be a disaster, while others absolutely hate the mere thought of D’Angelo Russell in a Sixers uniform. But I think we can all agree swapping out Simmons for John Wall without some significant add-ins is a worst-case scenario, topped only by a fantastical one-for-one trade involving Kevin Love. Those, my friends, would be very bad vibrations indeed.