NBA Trade Rumors: Kings Considering a Disastrous Ben Simmons Deal That Would Epitomize Decades of Organizational Missteps

The latest NBA trade rumors suggest that the Sacramento Kings are keen on making a blockbuster trade for Ben Simmons before the February deadline. However, a new wrinkle in Sacramento’s interest seriously threatens the organization’s future.

The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly want to include Tobias Harris in a Simmons trade. Not many teams have the contracts to send the other way while absorbing Harris’ and Simmons’ incoming salaries. The Kings are one such squad with those capabilities, but doing so could make for a colossal error in judgment that would define the reasons why Sacramento has not made the playoffs since 2006.

NBA trade rumors: The Kings are reportedly open to taking on Tobias Harris in a Ben Simmons trade

The Kings seem to have a concerted interest in making a Ben Simmons trade work.

Sacramento has reportedly been considered a Simmons suitor for months now. But it now appears the Kings could acquiesce to the 76ers’ alleged desire to include Tobias Harris in any Simmons package.

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported the Kings are taking the idea of trading for both Harris and Simmons “more seriously.” He noted the existing relationship between Sacramento executive Monte McNair and Sixers president Daryl Morey, who worked together in Houston. Amick also indicated that Kings ownership feels a sense of urgency and a “collective loss of faith” in the current group of players.

With all those factors in play, why not make a blockbuster deal to shake things up? The Kings have a potential centerpiece they could send the 76ers in De’Aaron Fox, whom they figure to dangle in some capacity. Sacramento could also throw Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes into the package to match salaries.

The issue is the 76ers will almost certainly ask for more.

The 76ers would likely try to pry key future assets away from Sacramento

So, about the Kings making Fox their centerpiece in a Ben Simmons trade: The 76ers might not have interest in Swipa.

Fox is a tremendously talented offensive player. Still, he shoots just 31.5% from beyond the arc for his career and routinely gets lost on ball screens on the defensive end. Hypothetically, the Sixers could pivot away from Fox and develop their own package built around second-year Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Philly ranks a respectable 12th in 3-point percentage, but it is just 27th in attempts per game. The 76ers also need playmaking, given they rank 22nd in assists. Haliburton could supply both.

The former Iowa State product took on more responsibilities on the ball after Fox entered health and safety protocols in mid-December. In his last 14 games, Haliburton averaged 16.6 points, 9.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. He shot 46.1% from deep on 5.4 attempts. Moreover, the 21-year-old has the length and instincts to be an elite perimeter defender. He’s averaging 1.7 steals this season.

Haliburton could better fit what the Sixers need in the backcourt, plus he’s far cheaper than Fox given he’s still on a rookie contract. Philly could ultimately ask for Hali, Hield, Barnes, and Tristan Thompson’s expiring contract — he’d give the 76ers much-needed rebounding — in addition to draft capital.

Such a deal would be disastrous for the Kings.

Acquiring Simmons could set the Kings back years if they aren’t careful

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons drives to the basket during an NBA game against the Sacramento Kings in February 2021
Ben Simmons shoots over Glenn Robinson III during an NBA game on February 09, 2021 | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings’ early-season firing of head coach Luke Walton served as a reminder of just how many missteps the organization has made in the past 15-plus years. Giving up too much for the sake of trading for Ben Simmons could make for yet another questionable decision.

Simmons is an All-NBA player. He’s the best perimeter defender in the game. But is he the kind of star who can elevate a starving Kings franchise? That seems questionable, at best. Adding Simmons would also pose questions about fit no matter which backcourt player Sacramento hypothetically sends the other way.

If the Kings were to give up Haliburton, they’d play two guards who can’t shoot and swap out one perimeter-oriented forward (Barnes) for a guy who thrives more as a mid-range scorer in Harris. The spacing would be nonexistent.

Alternatively, pairing Simmons and Haliburton could take the ball out of the young guard’s hands, which seems unwise considering how he’s excelled as Sacramento’s primary ball-handler and playmaker. The Kings already struggle to develop young players; they can’t afford to stunt Haliburton’s development.

It’s always difficult to decipher the veracity in NBA trade rumors. Maybe the Kings are simply doing their due diligence. Either way, they should avoid trying to hit a home run with a Simmons blockbuster when it’s just as likely to end up a big swing-and-miss both now and down the road.

Sacramento can still get good value without packaging all of Fox, Hield, and Barnes together. The Kings should pursue other avenues to obtain assets.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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