The relationship between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers is reportedly on the rocks, but should the Detroit Pistons be interested in a trade?
Traditionally, the Pistons have gotten their stars through the draft and trades, as Detroit is not a top-tier free agent destination. It’s not easy to get an All-NBA, All-Defensive talent who is only 25-years-old, so the Pistons are either going to have to wait for Cade Cunningham to become a superstar, or look to trade for an unhappy star.
As good as Simmons is at some things, he is still a flawed player who is making a lot of money, so there are some pros and cons to taking on a guy like that, especially when Philly is reportedly looking for a king’s ransom in return.
We suggested a trade that would get the Pistons there, but they’d be giving up seven players and a first round pick in a 3-team trade. The crazy thing is that still might be enough.
But let’s assume for a minute that the Detroit Pistons have the assets to trade for Ben Simmons. Would they even want to? Let’s look at the pros and cons in terms of finances and fit.
Detroit Pistons: Ben Simmons salary and the future
Pro: Ben Simmons is locked into a contract through 2024-25 and even though he’ll be making $38 million by then, that cost will be fairly average for max deals and won’t look so bad. He’s only 25-years-old, so the Pistons would be getting all of his prime years in a scenario where he is out to prove everyone wrong and has a chip on his shoulder.
Also, with Blake Griffin’s contract coming off the books next season, the Pistons will have the space to absorb him without risking the future of their young core. I can’t imagine a scenario where the Pistons get Simmons without giving up Jerami Grant, but even if they didn’t, his contract is off the books after 2022-23, so wouldn’t be problem.
The Pistons don’t have any bad contracts (other than the dead money) and are in perfect position to take on a mid-20’s star who fits into the timeline of their young core.
Also, there aren’t many free agents in this tier who will be available over the next few seasons, so if the Pistons want to get a young player of this caliber, they will have to trade for him.
Con: By taking on Simmons’ contract, the Pistons would be making him the financial centerpiece of their team for the next four years. He’s an elite defensive player and passer but he has huge flaws in his offensive game, so is he really worth 30+ million a season? The Pistons could sit on their cap space while they are developing and strike when they are ready to win.
If the Detroit Pistons sit on their money for the next few seasons, they would be in a position to add two max free agents right at the time when their young players are ready to compete.
I think the finances are ultimately a wash, as stars cost money and Simmons might actually look like a bargain in 3-4 seasons when some guys in the league are making well over $50 million a season.
Verdict: Go for it!