The Boston Celtics are reportedly among the teams that have expressed interest in trading for Ben Simmons.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Sixers and Celtics have talked about a potential trade but there is "no traction" as of yet. It's expected the Sixers would require Jaylen Brown be part of any trade package for Simmons. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reported it's "untrue" that any talks took place.
Boston would have to add around $1.8 million in salary along with Brown for a Simmons trade to work under the salary cap. Including Bruno Fernando in the deal would essentially allow it to function as a one-for-one swap of budding young stars. (The Sixers would likely waive Fernando because they already have 15 players under contract.)
Brown and Jayson Tatum are a promising young duo on the wing, but there is a level of redundancy with their games. The pairing clearly can work over the long term because both are good enough shooters to provide spacing, but there's a level of sameness there that tends to lead to stagnation. Simmons is an all-world defender who can guard five positions and is a hyper-efficient attacker in the open court who could add some two-way variance.
Meanwhile, the Sixers would be thrilled about adding a player of Brown's caliber given how toxic the Simmons situation has gotten.
The team resumed fining Simmons last week over his lack of cooperation in discussing the mental health issues that are keeping him off the court. Charania's report notes Simmons provided the team with names of mental health professionals he's consulting, but the organization has no further information on his condition.
The Sixers have gotten off to a surprising 8-2 start without Simmons, which may ease some of the burden on management to find a "perfect" trade. Brown isn't a perfect fit for this Sixers roster given the team would still lack a reliable primary ball-handler, but he might be the best individual player realistically available. Simmons' trade value has dipped to the point that landing someone of Damian Lillard's caliber is a pipe dream.
Even if it takes a first-round pick and a pick swap to get the deal done, this is something the Sixers should strongly consider if it's available.