Pondering Those Sixers Trade Rumors
Until the NBA Draft actually happens, we are left only with trade rumors that would supposedly make the 76ers better-rounded and a little better.
The one thing we know is that the Sixers have too many big men. On the roster right now are five players of 6-10 or more, with one more coming if the team does select 6-10 Ben Simmons from LSU. (Thursday on my radio show, Sixers head coach Brett Brown talked about Simmons, and if Brown was a poker play, he gave off a “tell” as obvious as a flashing neon sign that the team is going to take Simmons). That means they must trade at least one of those bigs in order to supplement their perimeter.
The biggest trade rumor we have heard so far involves trading 6′ 11″ center Nerlens Noel to the Chicago Bulls for the following package: point-guard Derrick Rose, bench players Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy, and the Bulls No. 14 pick in the upcoming draft. Surprisingly, there was much opposition to this trade on sports radio, which I cannot understand. Rose has his issues – he’s an older player now who has suffered through a variety of injuries; he may be brittle, he commands the ball on every possession, which may conflict with Simmons; he’s in the last year of a contract that pays him considerable monies. But damn, think of the excitement he would bring immediately to the Wells Fargo Center. Imagine a team with D-Rose, Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric. Now you are putting talent on the team. And Rose did play 66 games last year. I would do that deal in a heartbeat.
Rumor two is trading Noel to the Atlanta Hawks for point guard Jeff Teague. The Hawks need a big, the Sixers need a point-guard. Makes sense, right? I don’t know. I might need a little more in that deal that Jeff Teague for Noel.
Finally, there’s the weeks-old rumor that the Sixers would trade Okafor to the Boston Celtics for the third pick in the draft, which they would use on selecting either Jamal Murray, a combo guard from Kentucky, or Kris Dunn, a point-guard from Providence. Again, I just don’t think that’s enough value for Okafor. Now if the Lakers are calling me about trading their second pick in the draft for Okafor, I’m in. If the Sixers can grab the two highest rated players in the draft — Simmons and Brandon Ingram from Duke – they might be the biggest NBA Draft coup ever.
Postscript. Fans are clamoring for the struggling Ryan Howard to retire. Years ago, the best Phillies player of all-time, Mike Schmidt, got up one morning in San Diego, realized he couldn’t hit major league pitching anymore, and hung it up right there. Howard, first of all, doesn’t possess the self-awareness of Schmidt. Any player who never recognizes his failures (have you ever seen Howard acknowledge that it was his fault that he struck out looking), anyone who builds a 60,000 square foot mansion with a moat surrounding it, doesn’t play in the world of reality. Ryan Howard is not going to give up a $25 million salary. And releasing him would be disrespecting one of the franchises’ best players ever. We’re just going to have to live with it.