The Toronto Raptors must’ve liked what they’ve seen out of the rival Philadelphia 76ers over the last few months, as the ongoing Ben Simmons trade saga is doing plenty to destabilize things around what was once a contending team. Simmons has requested a trade and intends to never play for Philadelphia again.
The trade market for him is genuinely puzzling. While he is almost scared to shoot the basketball and is doing everything possible to show he may be a locker room distraction, he has made multiple All-Star games and is one of the best defenders in the league despite the fact he’s so young, so the potential is there.
Simmons could’ve been a fit for the Raptors early in the offseason given their commitment to positionless basketball, but Daryl Morey’s insane asking price scared away buyers. Despite that face, Bobby Marks of ESPN+ (subscription required) is still trying to promote Toronto as an ideal landing spot for Simmons.
Marks mentioned the Raptors as one of the teams that “check all of the boxes” when it comes to trading for Simmons. Marks made some huge leaps to conclusions, however, as a trade for Simmons would ignore the construction of the Raptors roster, the direction they want to go in, and what assets they would give up.
ESPN somehow thinks the Toronto Raptors could add Ben Simmons.
On top of the fact that they can’t offer Kyle Lowry via a sign-and-trade anymore, marks hints that Pascal Siakam would be a player Philly would target in a trade. Sure, it would help the money match up, and they might be close to the same tier at this moment in time, but Siakam is not getting dealt, least of all to a division rival.
The follow-up couldn’t be worse, right? Wrong! Marks mentions sending OG Anunoby along with multiple picks as compensation. Where do we even begin with this?
On top of the fact that a young, retooling team giving up all of those picks would be foolish, Toronto would have almost no incentive to deal away Anunoby. Both may be solid defensive players, but with Anunoby continuing to improve as a shooter and ball-handler, he appears to have improved on the offensive end while Simmons has stagnated.
Philly could be a hypothetical destination for a Goran Dragic trade, but they wouldn’t relinquish Simmons in any of those deals. Toronto just might need to take their business elsewhere if Morey is insistent on getting a preposterous haul in exchange for his disgruntled star.
Masai Ujiri and the Raptors just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the chaos going on in Philadelphia. Simmons won’t be back in Philly, and unless some poor dope overpays for him, the haul they get back in return likely won’t help them win more games.