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A 3-Team Mega Deal That Would Change NBA Landscape: Ben Simmon And John Collins To Lakers, Anthony Davis To Hawks, Russell Westbrook To 76ers

A 3-Team Mega Deal That Would Change NBA Landscape: Ben Simmon And John Collins To Lakers, Anthony Davis To Hawks, Russell Westbrook To 76ers

The Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and Philadelphia 76ers came into the 2021-22 season with high hopes. Halfway through the year, their championship aspirations have taken a beating. As things stand now, it’s hard to see any member of this trio making it out of the first round.

The Philadelphia 76ers still haven’t resolved the drama around Ben Simmons and, per the latest reports, they want to wait until the end of the season to land James Harden via sign and trade for a package centered around Ben Simmons. But, the question is, can Joel Embiid waste another season with an early playoff exit?

The Atlanta Hawks are one of the biggest disappointments so far this season. After they played in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, they are outside of the Play-In tournament. Making matters worse, All-Star Trae Young has gone on record saying the regular season is boring.

On the other side of the continent, the Los Angeles Lakers “Big 3” has turned out to be Big 2 with only LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Russell Westbrook is not a good fit with the Lakers and AD is constantly on the injured list. 37-year-old LeBron James is carrying the Lakers once again.

There is hope for all three teams because together they can manufacture a blockbuster trade that would change the NBA landscape along with their 2021-22 fortunes.

Lakers Receive: Ben Simmons, John Collins, Seth Curry, Lou Williams, 2023 first-round draft pick (via 76ers)

Hawks Receive: Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris

76ers Receive: Russell Westbrook, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, Malik Monk, Onyeka Okongwu, 2027 first-round pick (via Lakers), 2023 first-round pick (via Hawks), and 2024 first-round pick (via Hawks)

Sure, our proposed trade would blow up the internet, but if history has taught us anything, it is that everything is possible in the NBA.

The Lakers need better defenders and healthy players. The Hawks need a second superstar next to Trae Young, and the 76ers need just one thing: to trade Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, so they can finally focus on building a team with Joel Embiid at the center.

Below we’ll go into greater detail on our three-team mega deal and show how it would benefit the Lakers, Hawks, and 76ers this year and beyond.


The Los Angeles Lakers Land Two Young Superstars

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Lakers Receive: Ben Simmons, John Collins, Seth Curry, Lou Williams, and 2023 first-round draft pick (via 76ers)

Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Ben Simmons

SG: Seth Curry

SF: Trevor Ariza

PF: LeBron James

C: John Collins

Lakers Bench:

PG: Kendrick Nunn, Avery Bradley

SG: Austin Reaves

SF: Talen Horton-Tucker

PF: Carmelo Anthony

C: Stanley Johnson

On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers moved back to .500 with their win against the Brooklyn Nets as Anthony Davis found his way back into the lineup after missing 17 consecutive games.

Lakers fans shouldn’t get too excited. The Nets were without All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, while sharpshooter Joe Harris was also sidelined. It was nice to see AD suited up, but his impact was minimal. He finished the game with eight points, and the Purple and Gold were one point worse with him on the floor across 25 minutes of action.

The more significant news came two days earlier, after the Lakers’ loss in Miami. James, Davis, and Westbrook were seen out together drinking a $10,500 bottle of wine at a trendy South Beach restaurant, Kiki. The Purple and Gold’s famous trio should have been working on their games in the gym. Instead, they were living it up with smiles on their faces, not even a little worried about dumping another contest to another team that outworked them on the court.

The Lakers need a change.

Westbrook’s game doesn’t work next to LBJ and AD.

Even worse, the Lakers seem like an entitled group of past and present All-Stars who believe they can “flip the switch” any time they want. Unfortunately, that’s not how titles are won. Teams reach the mountaintop by grinding through the regular season, building chemistry and confidence through each winning streak.

In this trade, the Lakers lose the best player, Anthony Davis, an athlete who could be inside the top-10. In return, they land Ben Simmons, John Collins, and Seth Curry while clearing Russell Westbrook and his horrendous contract off their books.

The Lakers’ new starting lineup would be formidable.

Ben Simmons would suit up at the point guard position. He’d give the Lakers a lockdown defender who made the All-Defensive Team two times before he was 25-years-old. There is nobody in the league more capable of stifling players like Stephen Curry, Devin Booker, or Donovan Mitchell throughout a seven-game playoff series, a feat that is often overlooked but is just as important as knocking down long-distance bombs.

Ben Simmons can’t shoot outside of six feet from the rim, but his defense is incredible, his passing is top-10 in the league, and he attacks the rim with fury. He’s an uncommon All-Star, but he is an All-Star who’d excel next to LeBron James, a player who wants to do everything in crunch time.

Seth Curry would join Ben Simmons in the Lakers’ new backcourt, helping spread the floor for LBJ with his 41.7% three-point stroke.

Trevor Ariza would suit up at the small forward position. He’s struggled this year with his three-point shot, but he’s played only 13 games this season, and after he gets his legs back under him, his long-distance percentage should creep up toward his career 35.2% mark from deep. Ariza, 36, has slowed some on the less fun end, but he’s still a top-tier defensive wing, capable of taking on the opposing squad’s small forward.

LeBron James is playing like an MVP this season. His passing and IQ would lift Simmons, Curry, Ariza, and Collins to levels they’ve never seen before, making this Lakers starting unit one of the best in the league.

John Collins isn’t as good as Anthony Davis, but he’s averaging 17.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 1.1 BPG while shooting an excellent 42.6% from beyond the arc. He’d form a tremendous synergy with LeBron James.

Collins scores 1.51 points per possession as the roll man in pick and roll situations, good for the 94th percentile in the association. He and LBJ would develop into the deadliest pick and roll combination in the league because not only can Collins finish at the rim, but he can pop out toward the arc and connect from deep as well. And if opposing teams choose to converge on Collins at the rim, James can attack the rack like a beast.

John Collins has a solid 48.9 defensive field goal percentage while defending 13.3 field goal attempts per game on the less glamorous side. The former Wake Forest product is a better-than-average rim protector, and he can move his feet well on the perimeter off switches. Overall, Dunks and Threes ranks him as the 35th best defender in the league this season, and the Hawks have been 2.9 points stingier per 100 possessions with Collins on the court.

The Lakers bench would stay mostly the same. Kendrick Nunn (when he returns from injury) would run the show next to Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, Carmelo Anthony, and Stanley Johnson, forming a solid small-ball lineup capable of pouring down buckets against opposing second units.

The Lakers would also get the 76ers 2023 first-round pick, which they could package in a separate trade with Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn to land another wing like Harrison Barnes or Jerami Grant. Or, the Purple and Gold could hang onto their pick and build through the draft.

This trade would push the Lakers from a .500 team to an actual contender.


The Atlanta Hawks Land A Superstar To Pair With Trae Young

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Hawks Receive: Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris

Hawks Starting Lineup:

PG: Trae Young

SG: Kevin Huerter

SF: Tobias Harris

PF: Anthony Davis

C: Clint Capela

Hawks Bench:

PG: Delon Wright

SG: Skylar Mays

SF: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

PF: Danilo Gallinari

C: Gorgui Dieng

The Hawks would lose four key members of their rotation in this deal, and they’d have to take on Tobias Harris’s onerous contract, but it’s a straightforward decision. Atlanta would land Anthony Davis, the best player in this three-team trade.

Anthony Davis and Trae Young would become one of the best offensive duos in the Eastern Conference, but the Hawks would really feel AD’s presence on the other end. The Hawks currently rank 29th in the league in defense. Davis would come in and immediately erase most of their problems on D. He’s an excellent rim protector, but what makes him unique is his ability to not only guard positions 1 through 5 on the court but to shut down every player he matches up against.

It’s easy to see AD and Clint Capela forming into a switchable “Twin Towers” pairing that will hound opposing big men.

Tobias Harris has spent most of his time at the power forward position in Philadelphia, getting bullied by bigger players on D in an attempt to create mismatches on offense. In Atlanta, he’d suit up at the small forward position where he can hold his own against opposing wings.

Kevin Huerter, 22, is already an above-average defender. He’s holding his assignments to an excellent 44.3% shooting mark on the season. He’s more than capable of stepping in as a full-time starter and harassing the opposing squad’s best offensive guard, which would allow defensively challenged Trae Young to hide on the less fun end.

On offense, this team would be a joy to watch. Trae Young averages 28.0 PPG and 9.3 APG while shooting 38.0% from deep. He might be the best offensive player in the league, and he’d mesh well with AD and his ability to finish at the rim (77.1%) and hit from mid-range (45.5% from 16 feet to the three-point line).

Kevin Huerter is drilling 36.6% of his attempts from deep and would help spread the floor. Clint Capela could continue to attack the rim every chance he gets, and Tobias Harris could help with his solid mid-range stroke.

The Atlanta Hawks’ bench would take a step back in this trade. Still, Delon Wright plays steady basketball, and Gorgui Dieng (41.3 3P%) and Danilo Gallinari (40.0 3P%) can launch from deep.

This deal would give the Hawks one of the best starting lineups in the Eastern Conference and propel them into the playoffs.


The 76ers Finally End the Ben Simmons Drama

The 76ers Finally End the Ben Simmons Drama

76ers Receive: Russell Westbrook, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, Malik Monk, Onyeka Okongwu, 2027 first-round pick (via Lakers), 2023 first-round pick (via Hawks), and 2024 first-round pick (via Hawks)

76ers Starting Lineup:

PG: Russell Westbrook

SG: Tyrese Maxey

SF: Danny Green

PF: De’Andre Hunter

C: Joel Embiid

76ers Bench:

PG: Shake Milton

SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Malik Monk

SF: Matisse Thybulle

PG: Georges Niang

C: Andre Drummond

With this three-team trade, the 76ers are essentially swapping Tobias Harris for Russell Westbrook, which fans in Philadelphia might scoff at initially. If they dig deeper, they’ll see Westbrook has been the slightly better player this season.

Compare Westbrook’s numbers versus Harris:

Russell Westbrook: 18.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.8 APG, 29.6 3P%, 48.4 DFG%, 0.3 VORP

Tobias Harris: 18.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, 31.3 3P%, 48.3 DFG%, 0.8 VORP

Both players’ stats are eerily similar. The most significant difference between them is that Russell Westbrook has suited up in Hollywood next to LeBron James, twisting his narrative out of control.

Westbrook and Harris both average a little over 18 points per game. Their rebound numbers are similar as well. Surprisingly, they both struggle from outside, and their defensive field goal percentages are hovering around 48% on the year.

There are two reasons the 76ers would love to swap Westbrook for Harris:

Russell Westbrook is one of the best playmakers in the league. In 2021-22 he’s averaging 17.4 drives per game (7th in the league), and he has a 47.8 pass percentage. He’d mesh perfectly in a four-out offensive system with Philadelphia’s overhauled starting unit. Tyrese Maxey (40.7 3P%), Danny Green (38.1 3P%), and De’Andre Hunter (39.2 3P%) could spread the floor, hanging out on the perimeter while Westbrook could initiate the offense from the top of the key. MVP candidate Joel Embiid could hang out by the lane waiting for lob attempts, post entry passes, or screen and roll plays.

Russell Westbrook’s contract is shorter than Tobias Harris’s deal. Westbrook is due to $44 million this year, and he has a player option for $47 million in 2023. Without this trade, the 76ers are on the hook through 2024 for Tobias Harris, owing $38 million in 2022-23 and $41 million the year after in fully guaranteed cash. Harris’s deal stretches one year longer than Westbrook’s, eating up Philadelphia’s salary cap for two-and-a-half more seasons.

On the backside of this deal, the 76ers get great value for Ben Simmons and Seth Curry by landing three promising young players in De’Andre Hunter, Malik Monk, and Onyeka Okongwu.

This trade would give the 76ers incredible depth up and down their lineup with a ton of flexibility. Head coach Doc Rivers could insert defensive dynamo Matisse Thybulle into the starting lineup for Tyrese Maxey when the 76ers square up against teams with an All-Star point guard like the Warriors (Curry), Nets (Irving), or Hawks (Young). He could also insert Bogdan Bogdanovic for Danny Green into the starting group against teams that like to go small.

Russell Westbrook, Tyrese Maxey, De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Shake Milton, and Georges Niang are dynamic two-way players who would form a solid core around Joel Embiid. At the same time, Doc Rivers could call on defensive specialists Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle to shut down opposing offensive specialists.

The 76ers also land two first-round picks from the Hawks and one first-round pick from the Lakers, which they could use with Tyrese Maxey to go after a second superstar in the offseason.

This version of the 76ers is a top-4 seed in the Eastern Conference and would compete for a title immediately.


A Three-Team Deal That Benefits Everyone Involved

This is a rare three-team deal that helps everyone involved.

The Lakers get younger and more versatile with Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and John Collins in the fold. The Hawks land a second superstar to pair with Trae Young, and the 76ers add depth and draft picks while dumping Tobias Harris’s awful contract.

It’s easy to see all three teams involved taking off after this deal is consummated. One of them could even crash the finals party with their revamped roster.

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