When news trickled out earlier this month of the Sixers trying to pair Tobias Harris' unpleasant contract with Ben Simmons in a potential trade to the Hawks, most people in the basketball world laughed at the idea. The Wizards' Kyle Kuzma even cracked a joke about the thought on Twitter.
Could Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey really think a team would take on $71ish million in a swap while acquiring one player who has serious shortcomings and hasn't played since June, and another who isn't living up to his max contract?
It seemed farcical at best, a desperation move that only works in NBA 2K.
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But apparently at least one franchise out there is actually considering the idea.
The Athletic's NBA insider Sam Amick reported on Tuesday's episode of the The Athletic NBA Show podcast that none other than the Sacramento Kings are not out on a Simmons-Harris acquisition:
"AMICK: The Kings, I believe, are actually pondering the idea of doing Simmons and Harris. I don't think that's off the table."
It's just a little nugget of info, but it's a really fascinating possibility.
It sounds at the moment like Morey really wants to slow play the Simmons situation and make a move for James Harden after the season's over. But someone taking Harris's contract off the Sixers' hands might be enough incentive to sway Morey back towards dealing Simmons before the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
The Kings have long been one of the primary players in the Simmons trade winds, for many reasons. Their team construction doesn't really work right now (too many guards, not enough playing time); Sacramento isn't a prime free agent destination; and the Kings' President of Basketball Operations Monte McNair used to work for Morey, and the two still have a good relationship.
What would a possible Simmons-and-Harris-to-Sacramento deal even look like? It's... a little complicated. And it would probably involve three teams.
READ: Execs say Morey has new preferred Simmons trade plan: report
Because Tyrese Haliburton is a better fit than De'Aaron Fox with the Sixers' current construction, but Haliburton is on a cheap rookie deal, the money is a bit tough to finagle for a two-team deal unless the Sixers are willing to take back a bevy of players. A straight-up deal between the two sides could look something like this...
PHI receives: T. Haliburton, B. Hield, H. Barnes, T. Thompson, J. Ramsey
SAC receives: B. Simmons, T. Harris
Do the Sixers want all those players? No. They'd much rather have Haliburton, Hield, and draft picks. But the money doesn't work there because of Simmons' and Harris' lucrative deals.
Which is why roping in a third team - Indiana Pacers? Atlanta Hawks? - makes more sense.
But even the idea that a team would consider accepting Harris and Simmons as a tandem in a deal is highly intriguing, and should have Sixers fans' imaginations running wild between now and the deadline.