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2021 NBA Offseason: Fixing Three NBA Teams With One Blockbuster Trade

(Sam Forencich/Getty Images)

Fixing Three NBA Teams With One Trade

Alright, everyone. It’s time to get as irrational as NBA Twitter while still making a bit of sense. I’m firing up the old NBA trade machine to fix everyone’s problems with one big deal. The Philadelphia 76ers have some obvious issues with Ben Simmons, who should be traded *checks watch* like right now. The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t been able to win anything, so Damian Lillard is understandably displeased. Over in Brooklyn, injuries cost the Nets a surefire NBA title. All these problems are fixable if the GMs are willing to put on their big boy shoes and make some big-time moves. Of course, they probably won’t do that, so this is really just a thought exercise.

Philadelphia 76ers

Send: Ben Simmons, 2023 First-Round Pick

Receive: CJ McCollum

If it were up to me, Ben Simmons would be shipped off to Shanghai. He hasn’t actually been that useful of a player for a while now, but people are only now starting to realize it. Adding a true shooting guard in CJ McCollum is exactly what they need. From a fit standpoint, that’s probably the best move they could make. Seth Curry might be out the door, so Philly will need someone to hit shots.

Portland Trail Blazers

Send: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum

Receive: Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, 76ers 2023 First-Round Pick, Nets 2022 Second-Round Pick

It’s time for Portland to blow it up. Sky-high. They can’t continue to let this backcourt rot in Portland, doomed to win absolutely nothing. They should pick up Ben Simmons, who would drastically improve the Blazers’ defense and rebounding. Throw Kyrie Irving in the mix, and this team might not be totally unwatchable. Simmons can then play forward full-time (as he should), running point forward when he needs to. Get him off the perimeter and play him on the wing or with his back to the basket. In this scenario, the Blazers also add some draft assets to help with their impending rebuild.

Brooklyn Nets

Send: Kyrie Irving, 2022 Second-Round Pick

Receive: Damian Lillard

The big thing that killed the Nets in the playoffs wasn’t their play, it was injuries. Kyrie Irving and James Harden both went down, leaving Kevin Durant to play 45 minutes a night and carry the load by himself. As it stands, Irving is a major injury risk to the point that I don’t know if I trust him to be healthy in the playoffs anymore. If he is healthy in the playoffs, he’ll likely have sat out so many regular season games such that his contract isn’t worth it. Lillard is objectively better than Kyrie and has a much shorter medical record. To completely show my cards, I’m also pretty anti-Kyrie after his nonsense in Boston, so I’d love for him to get dealt out of nowhere.

And before you start getting on my case about the salaries matching, they work out just fine. Every NBA trade machine website I used accepted the trade.

(NBA Trade Machine via Fanspo)

Whatever metric Fanspo is using to calculate projected wins makes this trade look pretty even on all sides, and I really think each of the three teams are better off in this scenario. No, none of this will ever happen. At least not the whole thing. But wouldn’t it be so much fun if it did?


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