The Philadelphia 76ers are almost certain to explore trading Ben Simmons this offseason after his offensive implosion in the playoffs. Given his youth and skill set, the Sixers should find plenty of suitors for his services. One team that should pursue a deal is the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls have been building for a few years but have yet to really kick things into gear. There have been hits and misses along the way, but things feel stagnant even with Billy Donovan only one year in to his time as the team's head coach. A shakeup that involves an immensely talented, 24-year-old All-Star like Simmons could change the organization's fortunes.
Simmons wouldn't come cheap and some Bulls fans will balk at the price I'm proposing. Zach LaVine would have to be headed to Philly in any deal. I realize that's tough to swallow, but LaVine is set to hit free agency after next season and doesn't appear to be in a rush to ink a contract extension. He looks like a guy who will test the open market. There's a chance the Bulls could lose their 26-year-old All-Star for nothing.
Packaging LaVine with Tomas Satoransky makes the salaries work. Simmons is under contract through the 2025 season and a change of scenery could help rejuvenate his career. He'd be paired with Nikola Vucevic and a young core that includes Coby White and Patrick Williams. That's a pretty nice base to build from.
The Bulls would be getting one of the NBA's best defenders and a guy who just needs someone to give him a shot of confidence while helping him develop a jump shot. Things aren't tenable in Philadelphia anymore, but that doesn't mean Simmons can't still play. He's a 6-foot-11 point guard can impact the game in so many ways, but his late-game struggles in the playoffs have ruined things in Philly. He could be incredible for the Bulls.
On the flipside, the Sixers would get a dynamic perimeter scorer to pair with Joel Embiid, and he's a guy who has no problem shooting and scoring late in games. The fit with Embiid would be far easier than the awkward combination with Simmons. Satoransky would give Philadelphia another versatile perimeter piece to keep or move in a subsequent deal.
LaVine finsihed the 2020-21 season averaging 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 35.1 minutes per game. He also hit a career-high 41.9 percent on his 3-point attempts. He's a legit star who could help take the Sixers to the next level in the Eastern Conference.
This is the kind of deal that could work out for both teams in the short and long-term.