Bleacher Report suggests Ben Simmons, Gordon Hayward trade between Sixers, Hornets

After a wholly disappointing playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Ben Simmons’ name will be tossed about in trade rumors for the entirety of the summer. At some point, likely every team will be included in a trade rumor or piece projecting trades.

The Hornets were the subject of one of those pieces by Bleacher Report recently. Zach Buckley proposed a Sixers-Hornets deal around Simmons and Gordon Hayward. The deal would include Charlotte sending its lottery pick, No. 11 overall, and Hayward to Philadelphia for Simmons.

As Buckley notes, it’s a gamble for the Hornets on Simmons but it would come at the price of cashing in on a surprisingly great year by Hayward in Charlotte.

If the gamble paid off, Charlotte would suddenly have two young stars leading its roster and a slew of complementary role players around them. The success could be higher reaching and more sustainable long-term than anything the Hornets can achieve with the 31-year-old Hayward.

For Philly, though, this would swap out Simmons for a better fitting Embiid co-star. Hayward may not have a go-to elite skill, but that’s kind of the point. His ability to shape-shift between secondary scoring, playmaking, shot-creating and shooting roles would allow him to complement Embiid however needed and coexist with the likes of Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and whomever else the Sixers retain on their roster.

Pairings Simmons with LaMelo Ball would be an interesting proposition on paper. Both are elite passers who excel in transition but both are players who need the ball in their hand. That part of the equation would be tougher to figure out for the Hornets and head coach James Borrego.

If the gamble paid off for the Hornets, it would give them two franchise cornerstones and one of the most unique teams in the league. If it didn’t pay off, it would come at the cost of Hayward, which would hurt in the short term but may still be a gamble worth taking.


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