Simmons to the Celtics

Updated: November 12, 2021

Rumors have again stirred up the Simmons Saga and the hopes for the 76ers to get a high-end talent in exchange for their young 6’11 defensive monster. Conversations have been had in-conference between Philly and the Boston Celtics, and Shams has reported that All-Star Jaylen Brown would be required to execute a deal for Simmons. The Celtics quickly posted their retort that they had no interest in moving off of J-Brown, yet it is widely known around the league that the fit between Jaylen and Jason Tatum is a combination that the front office is seriously considering splitting up regardless of if the Sixers are involved or not.

At first glance, the exchange looks impossible from Boston’s perspective, since Jaylen Brown possibly makes the 76ers at the very least on par as title contenders with the Bucks and Brooklyn. However, 10 games in the NBA can feel like an eternity when your franchise is underperforming, and the Celtics look like the worse talent to production ratio squad in all of basketball. No one would be surprised with the level of talent on their roster if they made the playoffs and even if they made it to the second round, but unanimously around the league, these 10 games have been quite convincing that this team is nowhere near a true contender.

The best part about the fit in bringing in Ben Simmons is the Celtics lack true playmakers, which would allow Simmons to step in and dominate the ball the way everyone wants to see him do. They also have a stretch big in Al Horford who is the only bright spot thus far in the Celtics’ season. He looks like he has been baptized and reborn from his hybernation season in OKC. As good of defender as Jaylen Brown may be (possibly a 2nd team all defense in the future), Ben Simmons covering 1-4 is the best defender in basketball and it isn’t close. A lineup of Marcus Smart, Tyrese Maxey, Tatum, Simmons, and Horford could be a top 5 defense in the league. With what Maxey has shown thus far as a scoring guard, the distance between him and Jaylen Brown might be smaller than their value indicates.

However, as hesitant as Philly will be about parting with Maxey, they must accept an unfortunate truth. If a Simmons package is going to bring back an All-Star…not an “all-star-caliber-player” but an actual All-Star, it requires Maxey in every single scenario. As good as he has been, ceiling aside, today Brown is a tremendously better 2-way guard than Maxey is. The talent level of the current 76ers roster with Jaylen Brown in it is a huge upgrade and arguably makes them the favorite with how the Nets and Milwaukee have looked thus far this season.

Pritchard is needed to be included in the exchange to match salaries, hence the late 1st round pick that is being sent from Philly to Boston. The second reason that the gamble is one that Boston is considering (despite what they are reporting) is the health of 7-foot-MVP-candidate Joel Embiid. Even if Jaylen ended up becoming an All-NBA guard, if Joel isn’t healthy for their playoff run, the Sixers aren’t getting out of the 2nd round. To date, Embiid hasn’t proven he can even stay healthy for a 3 week span let alone 16 victories strung together in the playoffs. As much as they don’t wont to “fix” the Ben Simmons problem for Philly, because of Embiid’s health and their own current situation, if they believe in Simmons and his potential, it might be the move for them considering the similarities in skill set of Maxey and Brown.

For the 76ers, Simmons has essentially become dead weight to their rotation. And there is an argument that Brown would be a better fit as a 2-way wing rather than the addition of Beal or Lillard—neither of whom are great facilitators and are defensive liabilities. Not to mention, if they were to make an offer for either of those All-NBA guards it would require all of their picks, Maxey, and probably Matisse Thybulle. Despite Embiid’s age his window is now, and the upgrade of Jaylen Brown is without a doubt the best player they could get for Simmons at this point. Only thing is, it requires Tyrese Maxey, which may be a hard pill to swallow.

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