With the NBA trade deadline in three weeks, the latest rumor suggests that the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings are working on a deal that could send Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris to the West Coast in exchange for a slew of players, such as Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Harrison Barnes.
Of course, this deal with the 76ers and Kings is just the subject of gossip and trade rumors, but if it gains any momentum, it would have to involve a third or even a fourth team.
Negotiations stalled with the 76ers and other teams like the Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves. Morey is asking too much in return for Simmons. He also wants to package Harris in any deal. The Kings were the only team to listen to his pitch.
Sacramento seems like exile for many NBA players, but it might be the only place that actually wants Simmons. The Kings could provide Simmons what he’s desired since the end of last postseason – a fresh start. Besides, Simmons already owns a house in California.
Simmons to Cow Town?
Coastal elites from San Francisco and Los Angeles call it Cow Town, but Sacramento is Calfornia’s state capitol and no stranger to backroom wheeling and dealing.
The lynchpin in this potential trade is the close link between 76ers general manager Daryl Morey and Monte McNair from the Kings. McNair is the President of Basketball Operations and he replaced Vlade Divac as the general manager in Sacramento. He was once groomed for a future front-office position by Morey when the two worked together with the Houston Rockets. McNair also has Phil Jabour, a former head scout with the 76ers, on his staff.
Divac was fired by the Kings in 2020 after he made several questionable moves late in his career, including passing on Luka Doncic in favor of Marvin Bagley III, which still haunts the organization. If the Kings want to pull themselves out of the muck, McNair knows they’ll have to make a bodacious gamble.
The Kings play in a swanky new arena called the Golden 1 Center. They draw poor attendance compared to their golden years in the late 1990s and early 2000s when they went to the 2002 Western Conference Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers needed seven games and assistance from the zebras to knock out the pesky Kings. It doesn’t take a hardcore NBA conspiracy theorist to know that the Kings were robbed of a trip to the 2022 NBA Finals by the officials. The truth is out there, just do your own Google search for Game 6.
76ers shopping Simmons and Harris
The big question looms: will the Kings really absorb $71 million in salaries? The short answer is yes because Sacramento isn’t a destination where free agents willingly choose to play. It would take an insane trade like this one to land a couple of high-end players.
The Kings have too many guards and only one ball. Head coach Luke Walton tried a triple guard offense, which made the Kings fun to watch last season, but they couldn’t win games in crunch time. Walton’s run ended abruptly after 17 games earlier this season. However, the promotion of Alvin Gentry failed to jumpstart the Kings and it’s now time to shuffle the deck.
The Kings thought they’d have to unload De’Aaron Fox in any trade for Simmons, but his agent leaked a story to the public that the Kings told his client he was staying put. Besides, the 76ers like Haliburton as a better fit alongside Joel Embiid. Plus, Haliburton is in his second season and still playing on a rookie contract.
Buddy Hield has wanted out of Cow Town for the past couple of seasons. He was linked to the 76ers during the 2021 trade deadline, and now he has a chance to skip town as part of the potential Simmons/Harris trade.
The Kings were in talk to acquire Domantas Sabonis from the Indiana Pacers. However, those trade discussions were quickly squashed.
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