The NBA is exactly one month from its trade deadline, yet another milepost of interest for Sixers fans pining for the team to find a suitor for Ben Simmons. As president of basketball operations Daryl Morey waits patiently for a worthy offer, another team has emerged as a possible destination for Ben Simmons.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday that the Atlanta Hawks are an "emerging potential landing spot" for the three-time All-Star. The irony is thick, as the Hawks were ultimately the team that led to the messy, lengthy divorce in which the team and the player find themselves.
Simmons would absolutely help an Atlanta team that sorely needs help on defense, ranking 27th of 30 NBA teams in defensive rating (113.1). The Hawks sit at 17-22 on the season, 12th in the East, currently 1.5 games behind Boston for the final play-in position.
Looking at their roster, Trae Young would obviously be a great addition, but there’s very little chance the Hawks would part with their superstar. Any trade would have to involve power forward John Collins, who signed a five-year, $125 million deal in August. As Sixers fans saw last spring, Collins is a strong, athletic player who lives above the rim.
Collins would be an upgrade for a Sixers team ranked 23rd in defensive rebounding percentage (71.3). Charania also mentions in the article that Collins is unhappy with his role in the team’s offense, and this year’s disappointing start has added to his frustration.
Atlanta would have to add an additional piece to make the money work — perhaps small forward Cam Reddish, who is only signed through next season at a bit less than $6 million.
Reddish is an intriguing player; he’s still only 22, and has worked on his outside shooting. He’s at 37.9 percent from 3-point range this season after barely clearing 30 percent over his first two NBA seasons. He could use some work on his defensive game, but he has potential, and his length and versatility could make him valuable on that end of the court.
It’s hard to imagine Morey thinking that Collins and Reddish — or any package where Collins is the centerpiece — would be enough to pry away Simmons. But another team jockeying for position is always good for business.