While Ben Simmons has reportedly returned to Philadelphia after being away from the city for the entirety of the offseason, there are still no indications that he intends to play another game for the Philadelphia 76ers. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi reported that the 76ers' current hope is that Simmons will report to the team as a full participant while they continue exploring trade possibilities, but it is still undetermined whether that will actually occur.
With a trade seemingly inevitable, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report proposed this hypothetical 'last minute' trade that would send Ben Simmons to the LA Clippers in exchange for a haul. Because Simmons still has 4-years / $147M remaining on his contract, averaging nearly $37M annually, the Clippers would have to send out a significant amount of salary in order to make a deal work.
In this hypothetical trade, Simmons heads to the Clippers in return for Terance Mann, Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, Keon Johnson, a 2028 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. This blockbuster deal would get the Clippers a third all-star while equipping Philadelphia will a combination of win-now pieces and future assets.
In Ty Lue's offense, Ben Simmons would undoubtedly flourish with the plethora of shooting the Clippers would surround him with; however, at the expense of what Swartz is proposing, such a deal would simply not be worth the price tag. Terance Mann just recently inked a 2-year / $22M extension with the Clippers, locking up two years of his prime at a team-friendly price. Parting ways with Mann alone would be tough for the Clippers to do, but adding in Kennard, Johnson, and six draft picks just seems like a massive overpay for a player who's market value is seemingly very low.
The Clippers will likely be active at this year's trade deadline, and Eric Bledsoe's expiring deal will almost certainly come up in trade discussions, but pairing it with three young players and six draft picks for Ben Simmons is probably not the direction the team will seek to advance in.