The Minnesota Timberwolves have clearly made it be known that they want Ben Simmons. By all reports the 76ers have no interest in anything Minnesota can offer; but Minnesota seems to be the team that wants Simmons the most. With that I've assumed pretty much everything the Wolves have outside of KAT and Ant are on the table, and the 76ers see themselves as a championship contender, and won't make any Simmons trade that takes that away. Let's breakdown everything Minnesota has at it's disposal, and what is out there as a third team possibility.
The Untouchables: Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards
The Preferred Not To: Jaden McDaniels, D'Angelo Russell, Naz Reid
The Expirings: Patrick Beaverly, Jake Layman, Tauren Prince
Young Assets: Josh Okoge, Jared Vanderbilt, Leandro Balmaro, Malik Beasley, Jaylen Nowell
The preferred Simmons trade package: Beasley, Prince, Layman, 2022, 24, 26 pick swaps, 2023, 2025 unprotected first round picks. Prince can’t be traded in combination with other Wolves until 9/26; but this could be worked around if he goes to a 4th team by himself.
This would result in the Wolves having a starting lineup of:
D'lo / Ant / McDaniels / Simmons / KAT
with Bev, Naz, Okoge, Vanderbilt, and Nowell as key reserves
So the question becomes, what can the Wolves get for that package, and potentially more, that makes the 76ers better in 2021-22? We have to eliminate all teams that are also title contenders, and even teams that are playoff locks as realistic options. The clear and obvious top two choices are Bradley Beal and Dame Lillard. I think those two stars are lumped into the same status as Simmons, and some people would even argue KAT. Simmons is the only one from this group that has "demanded a trade," so these other three teams aren't considering trading those players until they request out. So with those two off the table, let's examine each team's pieces and assess what might interest Philly:
Washington Wizards: Davis Bertans, KCP, Kyle Kuzma, Montrez Harrell
Indiana Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, TJ Warren, Justin Holiday
Charlotte Hornets: Gordon Hayward
Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic, Chris Boucher
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love, Colin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr.
Orlando Magic: Gary Harris, Terrance Ross
Los Angeles Clippers: Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, Eric Bledsoe
Memphis Grizzles: Kyle Anderson, Steven Adams, Dylan Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Tyus Jones, Rajon Rondo
Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins
Sacramento Kings: De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes
Houston Rockets: John Wall, Eric Gordon
It's a pretty ugly list all in all. WAS,ORL,LAC,HOU,GS are all exclusively 4th or higher teams in this trade; nothing they have combines with what Minnesota has to make Philly better. So we can really narrow this down to Indy, Toronto, Cleveland, Memphis, and Sacramento. Indy I don't think is interested in rookies with Carlisle as the new coach. De'Aaron Fox and Pascal Siakam are clearly the best two options, with Hayward, Love, FVV, Hield, Barnes, and Brogdon the next tier. I'm not sure we can pry the top guys here, but think we could get the 2nd tier.
I think Sacramento, Memphis, Cleveland, and Toronto are our top 4 choices here.
The Kings Trade:
MIN receives: Ben Simmons (Marvin Bagley)
PHI receives: Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, 2022 & 2024 pick swap
SAC receives: Malik Beasley, 2026 pick swap, 2023 & 2025 1st round pick, Anthony Tolliver, Tauren Prince, Jake Layman (Patrick Beverly)
Sacramento does this as a soft reset. They get younger and cheaper at SG, and get incredible value for Barnes here. The Kings realize they aren't winning the title, and may not even make the play-in, so they take 200 cents on the dollar for their vets. I put the Bagley Beverly swap in brackets if the Kings would want to dump him, but I don't think they would.
The Memphis Trade:
MIN receives: Ben Simmons
PHI receives: Malik Beasley, Kyle Anderson, Dylan Brooks, Brandon Clarke 2022 & 2024 pick swap, and 2025 pick
MEM receives: 2023 first round pick, 2026 pick swap, Paul Reed, Isiah Joe, Anthony Tolliver, Tauren Prince, Jake Layman
Philly settles here by adding four players that can help and provide different things to their rotation and addition future picks from Minnesota. Memphis gets pretty good value for Clarke and SloMo adding two youngsters. They likely waive all three veterans they acquired. This package isn't great here for Philly, but if the Simmons situation gets toxic enough they tread water pretty well with this package.
The Cleveland Trade:
MIN receives: Ben Simmons, Paul Reed
PHI receives: Kevin Love, Colin Sexton, Jaden McDaniels, 2022, 2024, & 2026 pick swap
CLE receives: 2023 1st round pick, Malik Beasley, Anthony Tolliver, Tauren Prince, Jake Layman
Philly has to go a bit riskier here; requiring the Wolves to include McDaniels in the trade. You may be able to remove the pick to CLE, and even a pick swap to Philly since the players switching teams aren't quite as valuable with Love's contract.
The Toronto Trade:
MIN receives: Ben Simmons, Chris Boucher
PHI receives: Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic, 2022, 2024, & 2026 pick swap
TOR receives: 2023 & 2025 1st round picks, 2027 pick swap, Malik Beasley, Anthony Tolliver, Tauren Prince, Patrick Beverly
Much like Sacramento, Toronto does a soft reset here. They turn 27 year old starters into the younger Beasley, and future draft assets. They get slightly worse in 2021-22 to get maximum value out of FVV and Boucher. Philly gets slightly better adding 2 quality starting guards that are proven playoff players. Boucher may be overkill here with Simmons, Vanderbilt, Naz, McDaniels, and Layman on the roster. They could swap Bev for Layman and take Boucher and the extra swap out in that case.
I think if we combine the Memphis and Sacramento trade into a 4 team trade it makes more sense for everyone. So to me the winning trade is:
MIN receives: Ben Simmons, Isiah Joe
PHI receives: Buddy Hield, Kyle Anderson, Dylan Brooks, 2022 & 2024 pick swap
MEM receives: Tauren Prince, 2023 & 2025 first round picks
SAC receives: Malik Beasley, Anthony Tolliver, Jake Layman, 2026 pick swap
Here Memphis resolves their roster overcrowding, and acquire a decent haul of picks for two vets on the trade block. Sacramento get a pick swap and a similar younger player to Hield in Beasley. Philly gets 2 pick swaps and 3 guys that plug in immediately to their rotation. Minnesota likely goes into the luxury tax with this deal, but could always flip Pat Bev at the deadline for a cheaper PG to get under the tax. Depending on if the LAC/MEM/MIN Bev swaps turns out to be a 3 team trade instead of 2 separate trades he could even be flipped to Memphis for Tyus or Rondo.
Overall, I think if the Wolves are willing to offer enough picks, they can keep their core 5 players while adding Ben Simmons. Having that top 5 with Naz off the bench should make us legitimate playoff contenders for years to come. This plan hinges on Philly being forced to trade Simmons, as they are never getting true value back for him.