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Detroit Pistons again linked to Ben Simmons as potential trade partner

Sixers site examines what a deal could look like

Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons have been linked to Ben Simmons as a team “still inquiring” about the disgruntled Sixers’ point guard’s availability, according to Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey.

Do I think a deal will happen? No, not at all. Will that prevent stories like this that link a handful of teams to Simmons from now until the day he is traded? No, not at all? Do I think the Pistons actually called about Simmons’ availability at some point? Without a doubt.

But once you’re one of those teams reported to be in the mix, it’s hard to escape as a “team of interest.” Once it’s true it doesn’t matter if it means there is a 0.0001% chance you’re going to get the player or a 99% chance, you’re still a suitor.

Will this Sixers saga end anytime soon? Honestly, I don’t think so. The Sixers know they need to trade Simmons, and they know they will be a good team even as he sits out. They also know the offers being made for Simmons right now are delivering such marginal returns it’s not like it would move the needle significantly in Philly.

If Daryl Morey thinks the Sixers are a top-4 team in the East without Simmons then what is the motivation to trade him now and not closer to the NBA trade deadline in February? Especially as Simmons has committed to staying out of Philly even as it means forfeiting game checks.

The only pressure will be on an increasingly annoyed team who will be asked about Simmons endlessly. If they can weather that storm then the Sixers will likely be patient.

They simply need to wait out the season until another team joins the ranks of those desperate to change things up because Something Has Gone Very Wrong.

That could spur the market a bit, and then if a reasonable deal suddenly surfaces all the other franchises low-balling Philly now might up their offers because, as it turns out, Simmons is still a really good player.

Does that mean I want him on the Pistons? Ugggggghhhhh ... I was afraid you were going to ask that.

In my heart of hearts, the answer is no simply because Simmons brings a lot of talents but an equal amount of potential headaches.

Trying to determine what the fit like would be in Detroit would require us to figure out what it would actually cost Detroit. The answer begins with Jerami Grant and continues toward perhaps a Killian Hayes or a lightly protected future first-round pick.

That’s not nothing, but on a pure talent basis getting 25-year-old All-Star Simmons who is a defensive player of the year candidate is an upgrade over the extremely good but never going to be great Grant.

A deal like this was actually floated by our Sixers friends at Liberty Ballers. They determined Hayes was actually too high a price to pay for Detroit and a bad fit for Philly, which I totally understand. They swapped out Cory Joseph for Hayes and also calls Saddiq Bey off-limits. Joseph, it should be noted, along with Kelly Olynyk, couldn’t be traded until December because they are newly signed by Detroit.

From Philly’s point of view, the big question if former Piston Tobias Harris and former Piston Jerami Grant could actually co-exist and be successful at the two forward spots in Detroit. Both players are “best suited” to the power forward position, but also frustrate you just enough to want to throw them at small forward to see if it’ll work out. Maybe playing them together would be just fine?

A Grant-Joseph-marginal pick deal for Simmons would be an obvious winner for Detroit from an asset management standpoint. But Simmons is so much more than an asset.

He’s alienated teammates and reportedly run Jimmy Butler out of Philly because Simmons wanted the ball in his hands at all time. He’s also recently made noise (allegedly) that he wants a team built around him.

Can you give Ben Simmons everything he wants and still maximize the effectiveness of No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham? I have my doubts. Can you enjoy Simmons pluses while dealing with all the minuses? I also have doubts there.

And does Simmons’ self-imposed limitations — aka not just an inability to shoot but an outright refusal to take jump shots — mean that there will be a ceiling of playoff success that means nothing more than an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals and a quick out?

Maybe things would be different if a team truly was built completely around Simmons. It would certainly require four quality outside shooters and the ball in Simmons’ hands a whole lot. Your mileage may vary.

Me, I’m gonna pass, and I’m going to not think too hard about it because this deal still has close to a zero percent chance of happening no matter how many news reports link Detroit to Simmons.