Everything has been quiet on the Ben Simmons front lately as the Philadelphia 76ers have yet to find a deal worth making. At this point, there’s been little progress in getting Simmons back out on the floor for the Sixers. The star guard hasn’t been practicing in full with the team and hasn’t even appeared on Philly’s bench on game nights in the first 24 games of the season.
Simmons still wants to be traded, but discussions between the Sixers and interested suitors have been almost non-existent for quite some time now. But as teams are finding out whether they are contenders or not as they get through the first quarter of the season, the trade market could soon begin to shape up.
And recently, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley made a hypothetical trade suggestion regarding Ben Simmons and the Sixers.
The best-case scenario for the Sixers in the eyes of Buckley? A deal with the San Antonio Spurs to land guard Dejounte Murray, forward Devin Vassell, and the sharpshooter Doug McDermott for Ben Simmons straight up.
“Back in early October, B/R’s Jake Fischer reported the Sixers were uninterested in bringing back Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV in a Ben Simmons blockbuster. But maybe Murray’s subsequent growth a reshuffled trade package could get something done.”
Murray’s 2020-2021 performance didn’t show enough to move the needle for the Sixers. However, he’s looked improved 22 games into the 2021-2022 season. Averaging 17 shots per game, Murray is draining roughly 45-percent of his attempts. From beyond the arc, he’s knocked down 34-percent of his threes while averaging a career-high of 19 points.
While Murray’s impressive, Tyrese Maxey’s emergence in year two makes it tough to justify sending him back to the bench in favor of a player who’s not an established All-Star at this point in their career.
To compare the two, Murray’s offensive numbers are slightly better than Maxey’s in the scoring department as the second-year Sixer averages two fewer points per game. However, Maxey has been a somewhat more efficient shooter as he’s hit on 47-percent of his shots from the field and knocked down 36-percent of his threes.
Where Murray separates himself entirely is in the assists department. This year, he’s averaged 8.5 assists and has six games where he’s notched double-digits in creating points. As he passes more, though, Murray has become more prone to turning the ball over while Maxey’s been fantastic with avoiding committing turnovers this season.
Landing Murray along with some sweeteners might make the Sixers a better team, but it’s unclear if it makes them good enough to justify sending out their three-time All-Star, who is 25-years-old and has several years left on his contract.
Ever since Simmons asked for a trade, the Sixers’ front office has made it clear that they want an established All-Star over a package of non-stars. Unless Daryl Morey lowers his expectations slightly, trading with the Spurs won’t be the home run move Morey has been waiting for all of this time.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.