If the Philadelphia 76ers are going to move Ben Simmons before the NBA's Feb. 10 trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks sound like the most likely suitors to pull the trigger on a deal.
According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, those two teams "have been among the most engaged recently in talks on Simmons." Philadelphia has "asked the Kings for guard Tyrese Haliburton and multiple first-round picks, and asked for a package around John Collins and multiple first-round picks from the Hawks along with Atlanta taking on Tobias Harris," per Charania and Amick.
Charania added the Sixers have also had discussions revolving around Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox, Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis and Toronto Raptors power forward Pascal Siakam, but they "have felt that those players were not championship-altering, perfect fits on the roster."
Haliburton would be a more seamless fit. The second-year guard is averaging 14.0 points and 7.2 assists per game this season while shooting 47.0 percent from the field and an impressive 43.7 percent from three. His combination of playmaking and perimeter shooting would fit well next to Joel Embiid, giving the team additional floor spacing and distribution.
And Haliburton can play off the ball, allowing Tyrese Maxey to retain his role as the team's starting point guard.
The question for Philadelphia is whether Haliburton moves the needle enough for its championship odds or fits into Embiid's window during his prime years. The 21-year-old is still developing and hasn't played in the playoffs yet.
Maxey and Haliburton would give the Sixers an exciting young backcourt, but would that backcourt be ready for a deep playoff run this season?
Collins, 24, would align more closely to Embiid's window. He already has played in an Eastern Conference Finals, helping to eliminate the Sixers from last year's playoffs. He's averaging 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game this season while shooting 53.7 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from three.
His athleticism, rebounding and floor spacing at the 4 would make sense alongside Embiid, but only if the team could move off Harris. That will be easier said than done, given that the veteran power forward is still owed around $76 million over the next two seasons.
That's superstar money, and Harris (18.2 PPG, 31.3 percent from three) has not played like anything closely resembling a superstar this season. It likely will be difficult for the Sixers to find a taker for him.