Kings are smart to not include young stars in Ben Simmons trade offers
The Ben Simmons saga continues in Philadelphia as the 76ers thoroughly sift through the trade market in an effort to deal the disgruntled star. Simmons is reportedly hell-bent on leaving Philly for good and has no intention to report to training camp. With the rumors heating up, the Sacramento Kings are apparently among the favorites to land the three-time All-Star.
However, the Sixers want a lot in return for the 2016 No. 1 overall pick, and their asking price might be too high for the Kings. Philadelphia reportedly wants either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in any package for the dynamic defensive point guard. With how much Sacramento values Fox and Haliburton, they are reportedly “unlikely” to include any of those two studs in any kind of package for Simmons. Standing pat on keeping Fox and Haliburton is a smart move on the part of the Kings.
There is good reason why the Sixers want either of the two talented guards for Simmons. De’Aaron Fox is on the verge of becoming an All-Star-caliber point guard and arguably could have already earned an All-Star nod if he played in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Tyrese Haliburton showed plenty of promise in his debut campaign in 2020-21.
Letting go of Fox would be extremely difficult for the Kings. Over the course of his career, Swipa has shown tremendous progression in every year he has played in the league. His scoring output has increased in each of his four seasons, including a career-high mark in 2020-21. The guard averaged 25.2 points while shooting an efficient 47.7 percent from the field. Fox has also proven to be a dynamic playmaker, averaging 7.2 assists per game last season. While he isn’t as tall and a high-flyer like Simmons, Fox is an absolute dynamo in the open court with the way he can burst to the basket with his speed.
Perhaps the biggest knock on Fox’s game is his 3-point shooting, similar with Ben Simmons. But unlike the Sixers star, while the 6-foot-3 speedster isn’t lights out from beyond the arc, he isn’t a total liability from that distance. Fox has shot just 32.6 percent from long distance in his career. Nonetheless, at 23 years old, there is still a lot of room for Fox to progress into a league-average 3-point shooter. Also, at least he shoots them.
Meanwhile, parting ways with a young do-it-all stud in Haliburton would also be a tough pill to swallow for Sacramento. In his first NBA season, Haliburton averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while playing 30.1 minutes per game. The thing that stood out most from Haliburton’s debut campaign is just how smart and advanced he is already at his age. The 21-year-old’s decision-making and feel for the game are ahead of his peers. His high basketball IQ will ultimately spell his success in the NBA.
Furthermore, prior to the 2020 draft, many pundits didn’t think Haliburton’s 3-point shooting would translate in the NBA, particularly because of his funky looking stroke. However, he proved his naysayers wrong by shooting 40.9 percent from long range on decent volume at over five attempts per game.
There’s no knowing just how high Haliburton’s ceiling will be, considering he isn’t the biggest or most athletic player out there. Still, the Kings should stand their ground in keeping him out of any deal for Simmons.
Simmons may still be better than Fox and Haliburton, but his limitations on offense are a real concern for any team looking to acquire him. Fox has proven that he has the potential to be that guy, and while the ceiling of a team led by him won’t be that high, the Kings’ ceiling won’t get any higher with Simmons instead. Likewise, Haliburton may never become the player Simmons is, but again, his basketball smarts will be a valuable asset for Sacramento for years to come.
Of course, the Kings would ideally want to add Simmons to form a dynamic perimeter trio with Fox and Haliburton. Simmons’ trade value around the league doesn’t match Philly’s perceived value of the three-time All-Star. If the Sixers are forced to lower their price for Simmons, Sacramento could definitely get away without having to trade either of the two young studs.