There are always rumors of superstar movement across the league, but three guys particularly stand out when analyzing blockbuster trade deals. Ben Simmons has not fit with Joel Embiid so far and has been involved in trade rumors since the 2020 season ended. Similarly, Russell Westbrook did not fit alongside James Harden in what was supposed to be a dominant on-court duo. Paul George, a former MVP candidate, had possibly his worst season since becoming All-Star by stinking it up in the Playoffs.
With these three stars involved in trade rumors, it makes sense for their respective squads to trade them for each other. The Sixers need to make moves to give head coach Doc Rivers a competitive squad, the Rockets need to find a way to keep James Harden in Houston, and the Clippers desperately need a playmaker.
Here is why the 3-team deal makes sense for all parties.
Los Angeles Clippers: Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Russell Westbrook
Houston Rockets Receive: Paul George
The Clippers Get A Good Defender And Playmaker In Ben Simmons
The Los Angeles Clippers had the right ingredients to win a championship last season, but it did not work out that way. There was no real playmaking being done by any guards and the team chemistry was in shambles all season long. They have a chance to correct that issue immediately by dangling their second star Paul George in trade talks. In the 3-way deal, George ends up in Houston while the Clippers receive Ben Simmons. Simmons is the definition of a pure playmaker, except that he is 6'10" with incredible athleticism and ability to see over defenses. Much like Magic Johnson was, Simmons is an oversized point guard who can affect the game in many areas.
Moving on from Paul George hurts because George is a better shooter and scorer than Simmons, but the latter can replace the former's defensive prowess while giving Kawhi Leonard the perfect complementary star. George is a very good player but Clippers fans and probably Kawhi Leonard would rather have a point guard who can defend, create shots for players, and rebound at a very high level. A potential Big Three with Kawhi Leonard, Ben Simmons, and Lou Williams is a strong team that is much better suited for the playoffs than last year.
Russell Westbrook Can Dominate The East With Joel Embiid
The majority of NBA fans and pundits agree that Ben Simmons has not played at his best alongside Joel Embiid. The reason is very simple because they both tend to gravitate towards the rim as big players, which sacrifices both of their games. Embiid is a monster inside and demands double teams, but Simmons is not as effective as an outside shooter. He is good on the break but doesn't have the natural scoring ability to relieve pressure off of Embiid enough.
By acquiring superstar point guard Russell Westbrook from Houston, they have added a scoring machine to accompany Embiid. Westbrook is not a great shooter either, shooting 25.8% from three this season, but he's at least better than Simmons. Westbrook is also a better scorer and probably a better playmaker at this stage, as he is a better and more experienced player than Simmons. Westbrook puts constant pressure on NBA defenses and he is a load to handle, especially when he has a great big man. We saw how Westbrook can dominate a game with Steven Adams on his side, imagine if he has Joel Embiid.
Paul George Is A Better Fit For The Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are in complete shambles because rumors are circulating that both James Harden and Russell Westbrook want out of Houston. It is a lot to deal with when both the general manager and the head coach step down from their roles, and superstars don't want to be a part of rebuilding teams. The Rockets should be okay with giving up Westbrook, but James Harden should remain untouchable. He is the best scorer in the NBA and the most effective offensive force we have seen since a prime Kobe Bryant. Acquiring Paul George, one of the best 2-way stars in the league, to pair with Harden and recently acquired Chris Wood makes a ton of sense.
The Rockets need a complementary star alongside James Harden who can lock people down. We have seen how a defensive force like Chris Paul can help Harden, and they reached the Western Conference Finals together. Paul George can lock people down better than Westbrook can, and the Rockets added size and talent in Chris Wood and DeMarcus Cousins this offseason. With a more complete lineup, Houston will look more dangerous on paper and Harden could be convinced to stay. Even if Harden rejected his $50 million player option, the Rockets have the final say on if he gets traded and trading for 2-way star and former MVP candidate Paul George might keep The Beard in Houston.
Credit for an idea: u/aj2704