The Hawks have become the league’s perennial treadmill team. They have made the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons but have never really been able to take the next step and seriously contend for an NBA championship. This offseason is set to be a huge one for the Hawks and will most likely be the year that decides whether this team will take the next step to being championship contenders or continue to be just another playoff team.
The Philidelphia 76ers have been absolutely atrocious over the last few years. They have consistently produced one of the worst records year-by-year resulting in numerous high draft picks. Philadelphia has filled up their frontcourt with loads of young talent, but have yet to surround those players with any talent. Adding a player like Simmons just clogs up the front court even more and still leaves huge voids at point guard and on the wings. There is also the issue of whether Simmons is willing to play for Philadelphia. It has to be to nobody’s surprise due to the way the 76ers have approached recent seasons, that players coming out of college are hesitant to play for the city of brotherly love. There have been numerous reports suggesting Simmons would rather not be in Philly, and with that fanbase, the organization may feel it best to look at other options.
Sure, the 76ers could go with Brandon Ingram with the #1 overall pick. The wirey wingman from Duke showed great potential in freshman season and is undoubtedly a better positional fit for the team. League executives around the NBA have Ingram almost neck-and-neck with Simmons in terms of who should go #1 overall. However, with the buzz around Simmons the 76ers could probably get a lot more out of this pick in a trade.
In comes the Atlanta Hawks. Ben Simmons was the most highly touted prospect coming out of high school since Lebron James. In his freshman year at LSU, he made the game look easy. He is a terrific scorer but perhaps an even better rebounder and passer. At 6 feet 10 inches, he can handle the ball like a guard and run the break about as good as anyone in the NBA today.
There are question marks surrounding Simmons. Is he committed to becoming an NBA star, or is it just all about the money to him? Is he too arrogant? Can he coincide with his teammates, and ultimately can he win? Theres always going to be a risk, but Simmons’ potential is unreal. He could be the next great champion in the NBA, and with the Hawks stuck on the treadmill, this could be the kind of move that puts them over the top not just for the next few seasons but for the foreseeable future.
So what is it going to take? All that talent is not going to come for free and the Hawks are going to have to really open up their wallets on this one, but Atlanta certainly has the assets to make the move.
Hawks Trade Paul Millsap, Dennis Schroder, 2016 first-round pick and their 2017 first-round pick for The Philadelphia 76ers 2016 #1 Overall Pick
It is going to take an arm and a leg to get the 76ers to budge on this one. Paul Millsap has been the anchor for this Hawks team and looks to only be getting better as the years go by. He is coming off his 3rd consecutive all-star game and would immediately become Philadelphia’s best player. The 76ers have already showed interest in Schroder, who they are reportedly planning to offer a max to next offseason when he is a restricted free agent. After spending the last two seasons as the 6th man for the Hawks, Schroder is due to become a starter. His potential is sky high and both the Hawks and the 76ers recognize it.
For the Hawks, this deal actually makes a lot of sense. Al Horford is set to become a free agent and is due for a significant pay raise. The biggest problem with paying Horford that kind of money is that he is a liability on the boards as a center. With Millsap departing the Hawks would clear $20 million in cap space. With that space they will to be able to sign Horford and move him to the power forward spot and sign another high quality center on the market. They would also of course have Ben Simmons. As far as Schroder, Atlanta knows they are going to have to depart with either Teague or Schroder soon. Both are due to become free agents after this upcoming season and both are due for large pay bumps. Most speculators assume Teague will be moved so the rising star in Dennis Schroder can become the starter, but with Teague being an all-star caliber point guard in his own right, the Hawks could opt to stick with him in the long run.
Ben Simmons could change Atlanta basketball history. He could be one of the best to ever play the game. Its the type of move the Hawks need to make. If it works, Atlanta will be competing and winning championships for a long time, and if it does not, Atlanta will have to hit the reset button. Either way, with this move Atlanta is done being a treadmill team.