In the NBA there is a lot of player movement. We see players switch teams relatively often, with them choosing new destinations for free agency, or perhaps getting traded by their franchise. In particular, star players enjoy a lot of mobility and freedom of movement, and we've seen many stars force their way out of franchises before.
There has been a lot of media buzz lately about all the stars who aren't playing this season. Kyrie Irving is currently unable to play for the Brooklyn Nets, as he is unvaccinated for COVID-19, and the Brooklyn Nets refused to let him be a part-time player. Zion Williamson is out with an injury and hasn't suited up for the Pelicans this year. Ben Simmons has reportedly stated that he is not "mentally ready" to play for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Perhaps the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Orleans Pelicans would be able to make a trade that would help all of them out. Here is the mega 3-team deal that we propose:
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Zion Williamson, Tomas Satoransky, Jaxson Hayes
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle, Bruce Brown, 2022 First-Round Pick (Philadelphia), 2024 First-Round Pick (Philadelphia)
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Kyrie Irving, Naji Marshall, Cam Thomas
The Brooklyn Nets Get A Third All-Star And The Future Of Their Franchise
The biggest concerns with Zion Williamson are about his durability and conditioning, as he's had quite a few injuries during his first two years. No one is doubting his basketball ability. But the New Orleans Pelicans need a player that can be available consistently to pair with Brandon Ingram so they can make the playoffs, and perhaps Zion Williamson could get moved, no matter how unlikely that seems.
In this scenario, the Brooklyn Nets would be sending out Kyrie Irving, Bruce Brown, and Cam Thomas in order to acquire Zion Williamson and some other players. Tomas Satoransky would be a solid veteran for the bench. While he hasn't had a good year, he was solid for the Chicago Bulls last season, and a change of scenery could be good. The same could be said for Jaxson Hayes who looks like he has stagnated in terms of growth. He would provide the Brooklyn Nets with an athletic lob threat and a shot-blocker at the center position.
On the Brooklyn Nets, Zion Williamson would be able to take his time to get to his peak conditioning and get well from his injury. He would be walking into a contending squad. He averaged 27.0 PPG and 7.2 RPG last season, and he would give the Brooklyn Nets an athletic rim-attacker and slasher, the type of player that would pair perfectly with Kevin Durant and James Harden. He would also provide the Brooklyn Nets with the future face of their franchise as Durant and Harden age.
The New Orleans Pelicans Acquire A Huge Trade Package And A Defensive-Minded Star
As mentioned previously, the reason Zion Williamson would be traded wouldn't be because he is a bad basketball player. But the New Orleans Pelicans haven't made the playoffs since Anthony Davis was last on the team, and Zion Williamson hasn't yet played a full 82 game season.
The New Orleans Pelicans would be giving up Zion Williamson, Tomas Satoransky, Jaxson Hayes, and Naji Marshall to get a 3-time All-Star in Ben Simmons accompanied by a huge trade package to reflect the difference in trade value between Simmons and Williamson.
The two key non-Simmons players that the Pelicans would get would be Seth Curry and Matisse Thybulle. Matisse Thybulle would give the Pelicans an elite perimeter defender, and he would be able to take on the toughest defensive assignment every night. Seth Curry would be there to be a shooter and supplementary scorer. He's had a good season thus far, averaging 17.1 PPG while shooting a scorching 53.7% from beyond the arc. The draft compensation included in the deal would provide them with some future assets that they could move or pick new prospects with in the future.
Ben Simmons would provide the New Orleans Pelicans with a durable and available star. Ben Simmons has played close to 82 games for the first two years of his career, and no one would say he's injury-prone. Ben Simmons is an elite playmaker and a top-tier defender. He creates a lot of open opportunities for shooters and was considered for the DPOY award last season. There's no question that Ben Simmons is objectively a good player, and perhaps he could help the New Orleans Pelicans make it back to the playoffs.
The Philadelphia 76ers Get An Electric Shot Creator And Closer For Their PG Position
One of the biggest topics that people liked to talk about in regards to Ben Simmons in Philadelphia is how his game fits with superstar center Joel Embiid. Many people suggested that the Philadelphia 76ers need a perimeter-oriented player to pair with Embiid, a shot creator that could finish games and hit big buckets. Kyrie Irving fits that description.
In this hypothetical trade, the 76ers would be giving up Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle, and two future first-round picks in order to make the switch from Ben Simmons to Kyrie Irving. That seems like a lot at first glance. But the draft picks will be low value, and going all-in for Joel Embiid's prime and acquiring a superstar Kyrie Irving could definitely be worth it.
Kyrie Irving averaged 26.9 PPG and 6.0 APG last season, while also becoming a member of the 50/40/90 club. There's no question that he would be a great No. 2 option behind Joel Embiid, and we know that he can hit big shots on the highest stage. Many Philadelphia fans were previously clamoring for a Ben Simmons-Kyrie Irving trade: with this scenario, they would get what they want.
Kyrie Irving/Joel Embiid/Tobias Harris is certainly a solid big 3, and there isn't a clear favorite for the championship right now. Perhaps trading for Kyrie Irving would help the 76ers finally get past the second round, and there'd be a solid possibility of them being able to win a championship with that trio, though of course, they'd have to face the Nets with Zion Williamson on the way.