Three-team trades involving big name players are notoriously difficult to pull off in the NBA. That said, when teams get them right they have the potential to completely alter the landscape of the league.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers all have concerns on their squads that need to be addressed. Those issues range from problematic fits to unhappy role players to stars who are at war with the franchise.
Fortunately, a potential solution exists.
A win-win-win if you will.
As noted by NBA analyst Zane Harris recently, a three-team deal between LA, Sacramento and Philly could pay dividends for all parties involved.
“This trade package would send Russell Westbrook, Davion Mitchell, a 2026 Lakers first-round pick, a 2023 Kings first-round pick, and a 2025 Kings first-round pick to Philadelphia,” he wrote. “Sacramento would receive Ben Simmons and Danny Green. The Lakers would receive Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield.”
Right away, the benefits here are clear for everyone.
The Lakers would come away righting not one, but two different wrongs from this summer. One being getting Westbrook to begin with (who has been a disaster on and off the court), and the other being getting him instead of Hield. In addition, a group that ranks in the bottom half of the league in three-point shooting would suddenly add two marksmen to the fold.
Meanwhile, in Simmons, the Kings would finally get a legitimate superstar that they otherwise would have zero chance of attracting via free agency. And while Sacramento likely isn’t Simmons’ first choice of locale, it is in California – where he reportedly wants to be. Obviously he has one preferred trade destination, but given his current financial predicament, beggars can’t be choosers.
Brittany Renner's money situation just went from bad to worse. https://t.co/IOBsaziWlo
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 2, 2021
Finally, in Westbrook, the Sixers get a guy who isn’t afraid to shoot the ball and drive to the rim, which is an upgrade over Simmons for obvious reasons. Yes, his shooting and salary leave something to be desired, but it’s still better than what Philly currently has (nothing). Plus, since the Kings are guaranteed to be awful in perpetuity, the draft capital going the Sixers’ way is inevitably going to be very valuable. Joel Embiid’s blunt commentary on Simmons possibly returning to the 76ers is hardly encouraging. A clean break would be best for everyone right now.
It’s rare that a trade of this magnitude, with this many moving pieces, is win-win-win. But that is precisely what this deal is.
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.