The Ben Simmons trade market seems dry right now. With training camp set to begin in a few weeks, the Sixers have yet to make any significant progress on a potential trade. While they've had conversations with a handful of teams, Daryl Morey's asking price has caused talks to stop quickly.
At this point, only the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves seem to have a real interest in landing Simmons.
As Cleveland is looking for a star to bring into their smaller market and the Timberwolves are looking to beef up a lineup that has Karl Anthony-Towns, D'Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards, those two franchises seem to be the most realistic suitors for Simmons at this point in time.
But Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report suggests the Charlotte Hornets should give Morey and the 76ers a call as they should consider packaging one of their veterans in a deal for the three-time All-Star hybrid point guard.
"He is, frankly, the type of talent a small-market franchise like the Charlotte Hornets doesn't have access to outside of the draft. That might be reason enough for Buzz City to bite, especially if the Hornets feel (as they should) Simmons could lift their ceiling higher than Gordon Hayward and some trade sweeteners can—which might be the best package Philly can find at this point.
"But the basketball fit intrigues on multiple levels, too. Imagine Simmons working pick-and-roll magic as the ball-screener for LaMelo Ball. Imagine Simmons motoring down the floor to crush alley-oops or toss them to Miles Bridges. Imagine Ball and Terry Rozier being able to focus more on their own scoring thanks to Simmons' table-setting, which should weaponize them as bucket-getters even more."
The Sixers might have to take less than what they've been asking for in return for Simmons. If that's the case, then they would obviously have to ensure the headliner in the package they are receiving makes sense from a fit standpoint as the Sixers still view themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference right now.
In this case, it's Gordon Hayward. Bringing in the 31-year-old veteran would likely send Danny Green to the bench -- unless the Sixers find Green to be a better fit at shooting guard while bringing Seth Curry off the bench.
Hayward isn't a bad fit for the Sixers, as he shot 40-percent from three on 4.4 attempts per game over the last two years with the Boston Celtics and the Hornets. However, his injury history is a significant concern.
Two seasons ago, during his final stint in Boston, Hayward missed 20 games during the regular season. While he was healthy when the playoffs rolled around, an injury in the first game of the 2019 playoff run kept Hayward off the floor for 12 of Boston's 17 postseason games two years ago.
Charlotte didn't make the playoffs last season during Hayward's first year in a Hornets uniform, and the veteran's absence surely played a part in them struggling to do so. In a shortened regular season, Hayward missed 28 games with the Hornets, including the team's playoff seeding game against the Washington Wizards back in May.
A major part of why the Sixers are aiming to move on from Simmons is his inability to create a significant impact for them during the postseason. Considering Hayward has been injured more often than not around playoff time over the last couple of years, the 76ers could end up being in the same boat with Hayward if they ever did make a move for him.
While a Simmons-Hayward swap sounds great for Charlotte -- that's something the Sixers probably wouldn't consider at this time.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.