Last night, I was minding my own business, trying to fall asleep. Eventually I did, and while studies have shown that humans often only remember about 10% of their dreams, there was one vision I had in my dreams that stuck with me. It was an image that I couldn’t erase, and when I woke up, I had to see if there was any way a trade like the one I imagined could be possible. In the dream, I saw Jayson Tatum cutting to the basket and making an easy layup. However, my dream suddenly shifted, and Joel Embiid was telling Tatum, “Guys generally inbound the ball to me.” Tatum agreed, and inbounded the ball to Embiid.
What if the Philadelphia 76ers hadn’t screwed up the 2017 NBA Draft?
When I woke up the next morning, I realized I saw a very unorthodox solution to the 76ers’ problems; trading for Tatum in order to form one of the most fearsome front courts in the NBA. Tatum isn’t a guard, like General Manager Darryl Morrey wanted; but who passes up the chance to get a top 15 player in the entire NBA? Plus, Tatum has shown he can shoot from the outside, and would space the floor better than Ben Simmons. The only problem was seeing how this trade could have become a reality.
This trade could have been Tatum for Simmons straight up, but that’s completely unfair to the Celtics; especially since Simmons has been rumored to be traded for CJ McCollum, who isn’t on Tatum’s level. No, the Celtics would need more, and I came up with a wacky three-team deal that might just make sense.
This trade looks like it makes even less sense then Tatum for Simmons straight up, so let me explain. The benefits for the 76ers are obvious in getting Tatum, as explained above. The trade machine does not factor in draft picks, however, so in addition to John Wall, the Celtics would get the Rockets 2022 first and second-round picks. So, in addition to getting the leader at point guard that the team desperately needs, they would likely get a top pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft. There are some amazing prospects at the top of the draft, such as Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, TyTy Washington, Nikola Jovic (not Nikola Jokic), and many more. The Celtics could get players for a rebuild without ever needing to have a full-on rebuild, just like they did in 2017 with Isaiah Thomas. If they draft properly, they could get a player that equals Tatum in value a few years down the line.
It’s easy to see the 76ers’ point of view, a little bit harder to see the Celtics’ (though I think you can if you try); but what about the Rockets? How does this trade make any sense for them? Quite frankly, it doesn’t. The Rockets don’t need Simmons, or Josh Richardson. A pick or two would need to be thrown in by the 76ers in case everything blew up, but that still doesn’t justify doing this trade.
What if the Rockets would have another deal in place, all ready to go once they got Simmons? The Rockets needs are different then those of the 76ers; they are a young, rebuilding team, with a core of Jalen Green, Kevin Porter, Jr, Christian Wood, Josh Christopher, Alperen Şengün, David Nwaba, and Garrison Mathews; not the most mature group of guys in the world. But, because they’re all young, the Rockets can take a rebuilding package for Simmons; a few young guys and draft picks. With this trade, the San Antonio Spurs can get Simmons, a pair I’ve liked the idea of for a long time. In exchange, the Rockets get Dejounte Murray, who’s a defensive beast, offensive threat, and only 25 years old. They can also get Derrick White, who’s been decent this year, and Keldon Johnson, who has blossomed into one of the best three-point shooters in the entire NBA. White and Johnson are both young, and fit the Rockets timeline; plus, playing under Coach Poppovich, are likely far more mature then the guys on the Rockets. If the Rockets could swing this deal immediately after getting Simmons, then this could be a win for them too.
All of this from a dream which I wouldn’t remember today if I didn’t write it down! What are your thoughts on this mega trade? Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!