Following the disastrous playoffs last year and the entire saga that unfolded between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers, the former All-Star point guard has sat out the entire season so far as the Sixers desperately try to find a trade for him.
Names like Portland's Damian Lillard and Washington's Bradley Beal have been mentioned in rumors but neither team seems to be too keen on trading their superstars for the Australian. Sixers GM Daryl Morey's asking price will seemingly need to be lowered if they are to move Simmons on any time soon.
One of the new names that has now been suggested is Boston's Jaylen Brown, who is going through his own struggles this season. Although the tandem of Tatum and Brown seemed promising for the Celtics, they have been steadily declining over the past couple of seasons and currently find themselves with a 16-19 record.
The Athletic's John Hollinger mentioned in his latest article about trades that could take place in the NBA this season that a Brown-Simmons swap seems to be the most prominent option the Sixers now have for a potential trade.
“The most prominent one is if Boston would consider shaking things up with a Simmons-Jaylen Brown deal. This would likely be a non-starter in Beantown were it not for the Celtics’ bizarre torpor of the past two seasons, and it’s getting to the point of ‘they might need to look at this.’
"Simmons would give Boston a real point guard and let Jayson Tatum take all the shots; Simmons might compromise spacing in lineups with Robert Williams, but the Celtics’ defense with Williams, Simmons and Marcus Smart could be ridiculous. From Philly’s end, obviously, having an All-Star-caliber wing would be a big upgrade, although the Sixers still need a plus passer or two.
"The U-turn on most Philly trade scenarios is that in a Brown deal, the Sixers are likely the ones who would need to cough up players and/or picks. Brown is still signed for two more years at reasonable money and made the All-Star team last season.”
Brown is under contract with for the next two years and is owed $55.5 million in that time, but he is just 25 years of age, the same as Simmons. Both players are just about entering their peak and are elite defenders, although Brown does offer better shooting than Simmons, meaning the Sixers will likely have to throw in another asset to make the deal happen.
The Sixers and the Celtics are historical rivals, so a trade of this magnitude would certainly be a massive move that would shake up the Eastern Conference. If the C's are looking to break up their young duo, then a player of Ben Simmons' quality would be the ideal replacement, provided they believe that they can fix his attitude issues.