The Atlanta Hawks upset the Philadelphia 76ers and booted them from the Eastern Conference semifinals this season. In the process, they also completely shattered Ben Simmons’ confidence and helped contribute to him being absolutely petrified to touch the ball on the offensive end.
Because of how bad Simmons was in that Hawks series, the Sixers completely imploded. Beef developed between Simmons and head coach Doc Rivers; a full on war erupted between Simmons and team star Joel Embiid.
It got ugly. So ugly, in fact, that all sides seemingly agreed that a trade was necessary.
At this point, it’s something of an open secret that Simmons is on his way out of Philly. The Sixers have made their asking price for him quite clear, and now they’re waiting for someone to be able to meet it. Ironically enough, the Hawks may turn out to be a key player in helping the 76ers get what they want.
According to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, the Hawks have the assets necessary to help facilitate a three-team deal that would get the Sixers what they want, and Simmons what he ultimately desires.
“Let’s say the [Minnesota] Timberwolves are the team that ultimately decides to go in for Simmons,” he wrote. “They’re probably going to need a third team in the deal to execute it because they don’t have the young prospects that likely will excite the 76ers. That’s where someone like [Cam] Reddish could come into play and the Hawks end up getting something out of the deal. The Hawks definitely have the prospects and draft capital to get involved in any deal involving Simmons, but it would likely be as the third team instead of the team landing Simmons.”
Interestingly enough, the Timberwolves are one of the two teams that the Sixers just rejected trade offers from. Part of the problem is the front office’s refusal to include one particular star in any negotiations, but the other part is simply a lack of other intriguing assets. Atlanta could help with that.
Jake Paul won twice last night. https://t.co/hwq8OroRtW
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 30, 2021
Obviously it remains to be seen how this entire ordeal plays out. Maybe the Hawks will participate in the process, maybe not. They are an in-conference rival, after all, so the Sixers’ dysfunction benefits them. But if Simmons is getting moved either way and they can benefit, there’s also no reason for them not to do so.
One way or another, this promises to be an interesting next few weeks.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.