"“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth.” "- Will Rogers
The Rockets might be interested in acquiring Ben Simmons but suggesting that John Wall would be part of the deal is negligent to the truth. Perhaps the best indicator that Wall for Simmons is pure fantasy is that the whimsical Kendrick Perkins has given the deal his blessings.
However, this isn’t an article about how Perkins is one of the NBA’s worst analysts, it’s an article about the three reasons why Wall for Simmons simply will not, cannot, and should not happen.
Reason #3 John Wall for Ben Simmons won’t happen: Team Direction
The Philadelphia 76ers are championship contenders. It’s one of the benefits of employing Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons, for all of his faults, is a very good NBA player.
He may want out, but a team in the Sixer’s position isn’t going to give him up for nothing. If and when the Sixers trade Simmons they will want a player capable of being the second-best player on a championship team, or multiple players that approximate that player.
The Rockets are in a rebuild and draft assets are of the utmost importance. Could they give up some picks to land Simmons? Yes, they theoretically could, but it’d be difficult to create a package that is enticing.
The Rockets own their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, but can only trade one of them outright to the Sixers. From 2024 to 2026 they owe their firsts to Oklahoma, so the next pick they could trade would be a 2027 first-round pick.
The Brooklyn picks are still there, but that would be an incredible change in heart from the franchise. Remember, they could have landed Simmons for Harden plus picks last season and instead opted for the Nets’ massive draft haul.
Any way you slice it, Wall for Simmons doesn’t make sense for Philadelphia or Houston. Strange things have been known to happen in the NBA, but this would be one of the strangest.
Reason #2 John Wall for Ben Simmons won’t happen: Money
Ben Simmons makes a lot less than John Wall. Wall is set to earn $44.3 million this season, compared to Simmons at $31.5 million. That's a difference of $12.8 million and can’t just be added to the Sixers’ cap sheet.
To make a deal work, the Sixers would have to send Simmons and additional players just to fit Wall under their salary cap restrictions. Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle make a combined $12.8 million, but both of those guys are more valuable to the Sixers’ title chances than Wall is.
The problem is simple. For the Rockets to send Wall to Philadelphia, the Sixers have to send three players who are better to Houston. If the Sixers weren’t trying to win a championship right now, then maybe the deal makes sense, but they are. It’d be an absolute heist for the Rockets, but there are far better low-ball offers for Simmons than the one the Rockets can present.
Reason #1 John Wall for Ben Simmons won’t happen: Player Value
Ben Simmons’ value might be down, but it isn’t negative. On the other hand, John Wall’s value is very much negative. It has been suggested that the only way Wall can be traded is if the Rockets send draft capital along with him. The Sixers might be asking for the stars, the moon, and your prized collection of retro-bobbleheads for Simmons, but there is a reason for that-- Simmons is valuable.
The Sixers have built a team around Joel Embiid and want to win a championship with him as the focal point. Simmons isn’t a bad player, he’s a player in an environment that is not conducive to his skill set. The Sixers want to move Simmons for an equally gifted player that fits next to Embiid.
The fact remains, John Wall is not that player. The same deficiency that plagues Simmons, a lack of a jumper, also afflicts Wall. Wall is worse than Simmons at just about everything except for shooting, but it’s still not a plus skill. The Sixers wouldn’t trade Wall for Simmons straight up, regardless of contract status, simply because Simmons is about ten times the player Wall is right now.
The rumors of John Wall going to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons defy belief. There are too many roadblocks for the deal to happen. The Rockets can say they are exploring a Simmons for Wall trade but that’s like saying you’re searching for the Fountain of Youth in 2021. The Sixers don’t want Wall and the Rockets don’t want Simmons bad enough to depart with every draft pick they have. Rumors may travel fast, but they certainly don’t last long, and this one will be no different.