The Ben Simmons trade buzz kicked into high gear on Tuesday when reports emerged that Simmons told the Sixers' front office he no longer wants to be on the team, and is willing to not report to training camp in order to get his way.
It's an unsurprising escalation in Simmons' suddenly icy relationship with the organization, and now we're in full-blown "where will he be traded to?" speculation mode instead of merely wondering whether he'll be traded at all.
One team that has been floating on the perimeter of the Simmons rumblings, never at the lead of the pack but never out of the discussions, is Golden State. The Warriors have a win-now mentality but with aging stars in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and a supporting cast that's a shadow of the earlier Warriors benches, they need to improve in order to make a realistic run at a title.
And on Tuesday evening, NBC Sports Bay Area insider Monte Poole reported that the Warriors are still mulling their interest in Simmons... but with one major caveat:
"According to league sources, any interest the Warriors might have in Simmons is conditional. In short, they’re not that interested as long as Draymond Green is on the roster.
"The Warriors, according to sources, are divided on [a Simmons trade]. Some see great potential in having two skilled players thriving in the ball-movement principles, especially in transition. Simmons also happens to be six years younger than Green.
"Others, however, believe having two non-shooters on the court is too crippling for an offense, even with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, to overcome, particularly in the postseason."
Pondering whether to trade one of the franchise's most recognizable and winning players from the last few decades? That's kind of a big question mark!
And it also presents an interesting scenario for the Sixers. If the Warriors are willing to trade you Draymond Green and more for Ben Simmons (we'll address trade packages in a second)... do you do it?
The goal for Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is to find an All-Star in return for his All-Star. Green is a former All-Star, and while he's still a winning basketball player he's not exactly in his prime, nor is going to contribute much on the offensive end. Green and Simmons, as Poole noted in his report Tuesday, are very similar players in that their brilliant defense and playmaking make up for a general inability to get their own offense. Joel Embiid needs more help from guys who can score, and Green is not that.
So what would the extra pieces be in a possible Warriors-Sixers trade that includes Green? The two are about $8 million to $10 million apart in salary over the next few years, so the Warriors would need to include more to match salaries. And... they don't really have any appealing players who can help the Sixers win right now, and also make the deal feel like a good return for Morey & Co. Green and a combination of Moses Moody, Jordan Poole, and draft picks isn't exactly moving the needle.
More than likely, if the Warriors wanted to deal Green while acquiring Simmons, we would need to find a third team interested in a deal. Maybe the Trailblazers, if they're willing to move C.J. McCollum to the Sixers with Green heading to Portland and bolstering one of the flimsiest defenses in the league?
Really, unless Damian Lillard comes available, the Sixers aren't going to love any potential trade return. But the Warriors are a particularly tough case to crack in finding something that benefits both sides.