With the Philadelphia 76ers' offseason officially underway, hypothetical trade season is here. Following Philly's disappointing second-round exit in the NBA Playoffs, many have suggested that it's now time to break up the Sixers' All-Star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Considering there's little chance the Sixers think to even trade their MVP-caliber center, Simmons will more than likely be the odd-man-out this year if the Sixers do decide to split up the duo of young stars.
As the Sixers enter a critical offseason, many publications are starting to put together hypothetical trades that have the 76ers shipping Simmons out and bringing other notable names in. Most trade packages have focused on the Sixers landing Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard as of late.
However, a new "bold" trade scenario from Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley would land the Sixers a player that nobody has really discussed too much yet; Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward.
Giving up just Ben Simmons, the Sixers would land Hayward and also net a first-round pick for this year. That would give the Sixers the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, leaving them with two first-rounders.
"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."
So, this isn't the prettiest trade idea for the Sixers. As they're expected to have interest in star guards such as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and even Kyle Lowry, landing Hayward for Simmons might not exactly thrill Philly fans.
And why should it? After all, the Sixers have been on the hunt for a natural star point guard for years now. Landing Hayward might be a better offensive complement to Embiid's game, but it still leaves the Sixers with notable question marks elsewhere in the starting lineup.
Also, Hayward's injury history is quite a concern. Two seasons ago, Hayward missed 19 regular-season games for the Boston Celtics. Then, he missed 12 of Boston's 17 playoff matchups in the same year.
The following season with the Charlotte Hornets, he missed the final 24 games of the regular season, being absent for 28 total games throughout the year.
While Hayward certainly had a resurgence with the Hornets last season, proving he can still be a valuable piece to any team, he cannot be relied on to stay healthy. Considering Embiid typically finds himself dealing with injury issues each season as well, the Sixers are better off finding a more reliable star if they're going to dish out Simmons.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.