With about a quarter of the season officially in the rearview mirror, now is the time that teams will begin some serious self-reflection.
All around the NBA, there are teams itching for a change, and the Lakers, Kings, and Sixers are probably at the top of that list.
Whether it's drama with their star player or simply a poorly-built roster, each of the teams mentioned above have a fatal flaw holding them back in the race for the crown.
In a recent article, Zane Harris of LakeShow Life illustrated one trade scenario that could solve a lot of problems.
That dark cloud is the Ben Simmons fiasco that the 76ers managed to get wrapped up in. It appears that things are irreconcilable between the two parties and as the result, the 76ers need to move him from the roster. Along with this, due to Simmons demanding a trade and refusing to play until he is traded, he has killed his own trade value, meaning the team trading for him will likely be able to get him on a discount.
This trade package would send Russell Westbrook, Davion Mitchell, a 2026 Lakers first-round pick, a 2023 Kings first-round pick, and a 2025 Kings first-round pick to Philadelphia. Sacramento would receive Ben Simmons and Danny Green. The Lakers would receive Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield.
The deal would essentially give each team what they need the most with the added benefit of finally ending the Ben Simmons saga once and for all.
But what would such a deal really mean for each team involved? Let's take a closer look at all the moving parts and figure out for ourselves why it sounds like such a good idea.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Russell Westbrook, Davion Mitchell, 2023 Kings First-Round Pick, 2025 Kings First-Round Pick, 2026 Lakers First-Round Pick
Sacramento Kings Receive: Ben Simmons, Danny Green
The Los Angeles Lakers Solve Their Shooting Problems With Two Offensive Wings
After their first-round elimination in May, Rob Pelinka had the ingenious idea of returning to the formula that helped his team win the title in 2020. Over the next few weeks, he brought back a number of ex-Lakers, including Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard. He also brought in some new guys that fit the same mold, including Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Kent Bazemore.
The idea was to count on size, defense, and some added shooting to surpass the standard they set two seasons ago.
Instead, their defense has been lethargic and their shooting hasn't been much better. The Lakers rank 20th in 3-pointers per game this season at 11.7. They're also in the middle of the pack when it comes to efficiency, sitting at 13th in the league so far.
Despite understandable resistance from Laker Nation, it's becoming clear that this Westbrook experiment is just not working, and while getting rid of him so early on is obviously an outcome nobody wants to see, it could be worth the publicity hit if it means getting Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield.
Hield, 28, is one of the best shooters in the entire NBA. He's making nearly 4 per game on 37% efficiency. He could spread the floor and thrive off open looks created by LeBron and AD. Barnes is a notable acquisition as well. He's a solid two-way veteran who can do just about everything on the floor.
It's never easy to give up a star, but any trade that adds solid, shot-making wing players is worth looking into if you're the Lakers.
The Philadelphia 76ers Add A Proven Playmaker And Scorer To Pair With Joel Embiid
Daryl Morey's hopes and dreams of a Lillard/Embiid reunion are probably closer to fantasy than reality at this point. Ben Simmons has really tanked his trade value over the past few months, and there's not going to be a lot of teams out there willing to give much up for his services. Still, that doesn't meaan all hope is lost.
Even with as flawed and uncontrollable as Russell Westbrook is sometimes, he's a solid replacement for Ben. He can score at all, make plays for others, and, best of all, will not shy away from taking open shots under the rim.
While Westbrook is no sniper, he's certainly a better shooter than Ben (especially mid-range), which could be all the Sixers need to take another step up in the East.
Davion Mitchell, meanwhile, has shown flashes of great potential and is another young player the Sixers could develop and build towards their future.
In the end, Philly will have to trust that Russ and Embiid could learn how to play together and maximize their partnership on the court, which is something their current star duo failed to figure out.
If nothing else, those three first-round picks in the deal would come in handy if they decide to blow it all up.
The Sacramento Kings Finally Acquire A Franchise Centerpiece
After an encouraging start, things have gotten ugly for the Sacramento Kings, whose signature moment of the season is the video of this courtside fan puking during a game.
They're 8-14, not getting any better, and whispers about trade demands continue to surface. At this point, why not get ahead of the curb by starting over and acquiring their new franchise star right away?
Simmons, 25, has proven to be a difficult and complex player, but people forget just how talented he is. During the 2019-20 season, he averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8 assists per game on 58% shooting. He's a talented finisher, elite playmaker, and one of the best individual defenders in the NBA.
If the Kings give the guy time to get right and surround him with dependable shot-makers, it could easily turn things around for the lowly organization.
For that reason alone, the inclusion of Danny Green, who is a career 42% three-point shooter, is an added bonus.
All that isn't even mentioning De'Aaron Fox, whose pairing with Simmons could make the Kings one of the most exciting teams in the West.