[Trade Talk]: Change of Scenery for Lauri Markkanen and Ben Simmons

The beautiful chaos created by the convergence of the NBA Draft and free agency has come to an end for this year, but there are always still some trades left to consider with the guys that want (or need) a change of scenery, but did not get moved…yet. This year, that’s Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls and Ben Simmons of the Philly 76ers. Time to fire up the Fanspo trade machine.


To Make this Work:

Ben Simmons and his mom convince Klutch Sports that would like to negotiate with the Celtics.

Logic Behind the Trade:

Simmons wants out of Philly after a semi-disastrous playoff run, and President, Daryl Morey is asking for a huge package in return. After realizing that Damian Lillard isn’t going to bail on new Blazer coach, Chauncey Billups, for quite a while, Morey decides to reconsider the packages on the table to avoid a PR and team chemistry disaster during training camp. He’s not impressed by packages from the Warriors (Wiggins/Moody/Kuminga) and Blazers (McCollum and filler) and decides to go for a combination of three new starters plus two firs round picks, helping the team in the near term and the future. With Smart, Hield and Barnes, they’ll have veteran, win-now, players that they can rely on to take advantage of what may be a small window that Joel Embiid will have to play injury free at an MVP level. Lineups with Smart, Green, Thybulle and Embiid will be nasty on defense, and lineups with Curry, Hield, Barnes and Embiid will be dominant offensively.

Proposed starting lineup: Marcus Smart – Buddy Hield – Danny Green – Harrison Barnes – Joel Embiid

Bench: Tyrese Maxey – Seth Curry – Matisse Thybulle – Andre Drummond

For the Kings, they would ideally send out Marvin Bagley instead of Barnes, but won’t pass up on the opportunity to swap Hield for Tobias Harris who is a bigger, stronger, and more versatile player who can also provide better defense. Plus, they get Horford, who can be as good or better than Barnes, as a veteran leader who is rock solid on both ends of the court, can hit threes, and even do a bit of playmaking. Harris and Horford can fit in on any team and therefore are great complimentary pieces to the 3-headed monster that is Fox-Haliburton-Mitchell. If the Kings can then send out Bagley for something of value, they have finally shed the mal-contents of the team and, with a little bit of luck, may have a bit of organizational stability, along with a lineup that will have a much better chance of making the play-in game. Horford’s contract seems hefty, but he is only guaranteed $14.5 next year.

Proposed starting lineup: De’Aaron Fox – Tyrese Haliburton – Tobias Harris – Al Horford – Richaun Holmes

Bench: Davion Mitchell – Mo Harkless – Terrence Davis – (whoever they get back for Bagley)

This trade for the Celtics is easy to understand as they send out Smart, Horford and picks for an All-NBA defensive player and starting PG in Simmons who is similar in age with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, forming a Big 3-type lineup in Boston that is big, athletic, strong, and versatile. Simmons will still need to fix his offensive game, which may rely on him fixing his mental health, but in the meantime, the Celtics will be dangerous on both ends of the court and should be able to really get out and run. Celtics lose out on two firsts, but that still be a bargain, considering what Morey originally demanded.

Proposed starting lineup: Ben Simmons – Dennis Schroder – Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum – Robert Williams

Bench: Josh Richardson – Peyton Pritchard – Grant Williams – Aaron Nesmith – Enes Kanter


To Make this Work:

Bulls agree to a sign and trade deal Lauri Markkanen for 2 + 1 (player option on the 3rd year) for $39mm.

Logic Behind the Trade:

Markkenen doesn’t want to resign with the Bulls, yet the team has suddenly vaulted themselves into win-now mode with the DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball. Losing Markkenen has to bring back some value or it’s going to be a very bad look for Bulls management, so they go after a veteran scorer like Bojan Bogdanovic who can be a weapon for them off the bench or even as a starter at times to let Patrick Williams have a night off. Bogdanovic has proven himself to be a 16-game player and can be relied upon come playoff time.

Proposed starting lineup: Lonzo Ball – DeMar DeRozan – Zach LaVine – Patrick Williams – Nik Vucevic

Bench: Bojan Bogdanovic – Coby White – Alex Caruso

For the Jazz, they are shuffling the deck a bit, hoping to get further in the playoffs and are doing so by getting a bit more athletic (drafted Jared Butler), younger (Markkanen) and versatile (Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall), while still maintaining strong perimeter shooting from everyone on the floor besides Rudy Gobert. By adding Markkanen, they add to, what could become, a new core that could emerge once Mike Conley and Joe Ingles take a back seat or retire. And in the meantime Markkanen provides a solid stretch-4 that compliments Gobert’s inside play.

Proposed starting lineup: Mike Conley – Donovan Mitchell – Royce O’Neale – Lauri Markannen – Rudy Gobert

Bench: Joe Ingles – Jared Butler – Jordan Clarkson – Rudy Gay – Eric Paschall

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