In the aftermath of a disappointing playoff exit for Ben Simmons and the 76ers, Bleacher Report’s NBA capologist Eric Pincus is proposing a hypothetical three-team trade in which the former No. 1 overall pick heads to Dallas, Houston’s John Wall is dealt to Philadelphia, and Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis is traded to Houston.
It’s an interesting trade construction, because all three former All-Stars don’t seem to be in an ideal spot where they are. Having obtained the East’s No. 1 seed in the regular season, the Sixers are incentivized to explore major moves after falling well short of their expected playoff performance. Meanwhile, Porzingis has felt frustrated by his reduced usage next to Luka Doncic with the Mavs, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
As for Wall, the 30-year-old doesn’t seem to be an ideal fit with the timeline of Houston’s rebuilding plan, and he could provide Philadelphia with a different look of initiating their offense. On paper, the 25-year-old Porzingis would fit better with the Rockets from an age perspective, and he might get the larger role and usage that he desires.
Here’s how Pincus makes the case:
Would the Houston Rockets be interested in giving Porzingis a look next to Christian Wood? That’s a high-powered offensive big-man combo. John Wall would provide the 76ers with a more traditional scoring point guard, who resurged last season in Houston after a trade from the Washington Wizards.
Lots of ifs, buts and maybes, though it bears mentioning that Sixers executive Daryl Morey has a long relationship with Rockets general manager Rafael Stone. That could help make a potentially complex/crazy idea somewhat achievable.
In theory, the Rockets could also pursue a direct deal with Philadelphia involving just Wall and Simmons. However, Stone passed on the chance to acquire Simmons during the James Harden trade negotiations in January, so whether there is interest in that remains to be seen.
The three-team blockbuster is clearly a longshot, as with any hypothetical NBA trade this early in the offseason. But given the turbulence with Simmons and Porzingis, and the fact that all three salaries aren’t too far apart, it’s a storyline worth monitoring in the weeks ahead.
A 7-foot-3 center, Porzingis averaged 20.1 points (47.6% FG, 37.6% on 3-pointers), 8.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game last season. However, he missed 29 games due to various injuries.
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