It's no secret the Cleveland Cavaliers have an interest in potentially landing Ben Simmons. As the Sixers shopped the All-Star guard throughout the offseason, the Cavaliers were among several teams consistently linked in trade rumors.
However, Cleveland's going to have a tough time making a deal to land Simmons -- especially if they are unwilling to part ways with one of their budding stars.
Ideally, the Sixers want an All-Star caliber player in his prime in return for Simmons. Collin Sexton is the closest player to fit that description, and it's unclear if the Sixers are even interested in the young guard.
Next in line would be the 21-year-old point guard Darius Garland. As the former fifth overall pick out of Vanderbilt showed tons of upside in his first two seasons with the Cavs, Garland has built up a solid reputation as an improving young guard who could become a star.
While it seems the Cavs are willing to part ways with Sexton for the right price, Garland might be off the table in trade talks with the 76ers. According to Cavaliers insider, Hoopswire's Sam Amico, the Cavs don't want to give up Garland in a trade this offseason. With that notion, Amico believes a trade between the Cavaliers and the Sixers involving Simmons has a less than 50-percent chance of happening.
"Also, Garland is a Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Agency client," Amico wrote. "So is Simmons. It’s hard to envision Paul wanting one traded for the other. On top of that, a lot of people around the league believe Garland could be a star, that keeping the ball in his hands will eventually help change the course of the franchise. Many expect this to be a 'breakout' season for him."
During his rookie season in 2019, Garland averaged 12 points and 3.9 assists while shooting 36-percent from deep. Last season, he upped the ante and notched a career-high of 17 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, and knocked down 40-percent of his three-point shots.
Garland could be a solid addition to the Sixers if he were available via trade. However, the question marks around his game could make it difficult for the Sixers to be open to trading for him anyway. For starters, the Sixers value defense more than your typical NBA team. No matter who they land at point guard, there will be a drop-off on defense as Simmons is one of the league's best defenders.
But Garland's defense needs a lot of work. In addition to defensive value, young Cavaliers prospects such as Garland and Sexton have question marks about their ability to perform at a high level in the postseason.
The last time Cleveland went to the postseason, neither Sexton nor Garland was in the NBA. Therefore, they have no playoff experience. For a team that's gunning for a championship run as they are trying to maximize Joel Embiid's potential as he's in his prime, it's tough to imagine the Sixers would bank on young and inexperienced postseason players anyway.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.