New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis is at the center of trade rumors and one trending idea has him sent to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The concept is to swap Davis with Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, giving New Orleans a young sensation to build around. Meanwhile, the 76ers would have one of the best frontcourts ever assembled.
This picked up steam when Bill Simmons first mentioned it on a recent episode of his podcast. Here is what his colleague Kevin O’Connor said about the idea (via The Ringer):
“It’s an intriguing basketball fit [for New Orleans] … You put him in Alvin Gentry‘s high-tempo offense, high-throtlle system. You can build around him Giannis Antetokounmpo-style … You’re trying to invest in forwards, wings and 3-and-D guys around Ben Simmons … With those guys [for Philly], they both have size and the ability inside on both sides of the floor.”
Rather than simply holding onto Davis, who could be destined to leave, this would give the Pelicans a potential blue chip option in the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year. O’Connor also notes Philadelphia could double down on bigs to match up against the Golden State Warriors, who could not defend the duo.
On January 8, Brian Windhorst alluded to the same theory. He spoke about the topic from the approach that the trio of Simmons with Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler is unlikely to stay intact for long. He, too, connected the dots to bring Simmons to New Orleans.
Windhorst made some interesting pros and cons for the two clients signed to the same agency at Klutch Sports (via The Hoop Collective):
“Simmons is under contract, under control and also I know that he’s not exactly like Louisiana’s favorite son but he did go to LSU … Davis does not want to play center, he’d rather play power forward. I know it’s not the most ideal fit in history. But you start thinking about what they can do defensively?”
Davis, who is a better shooter than the 22-year-old point forward, spaces the floor better than Simmons could when playing alongside Embiid. But would either side legitimately consider such a deal?
Rather than trading for selected assets from the Lakers (including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart) or whatever the Celtics offer this offseason, this would give the Pelicans an exciting product for the immediate and long-term future in New Orleans.
Zach Lowe explained that while he does not think it will happen, there may be more than just fluff to such a rumor (via The Lowe Post):
“Who are some players they would trade Ben Simmons for? … The one that you mentioned is one that makes sense … It’s only realistic because of A.D.’s contractual situation … Both teams might have a phone call about it.”
Lowe hinted that he has more information he will release in an upcoming column about the situation. But until then, it’s worth wondering about the merits for both sides.
The fact that the front offices would answer the call is noteworthy, though such a deal would shake up both conferences in an exciting manner.