Kings-Pacers deal damages Sixers’ Ben Simmons market

Sixers lose a huge piece of the Simmons trade market originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Folks, the NBA trade deadline is here and it’s already absolutely on fire.

The deals began Tuesday morning with the Trailblazers sending C.J. McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. to New Orleans for a package centered around Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. It was a big deal – but not the kind of move that would shift things for the Sixers’ Ben Simmons trade pursuits.

Then came the big explosion.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Kings have traded Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday:


The Kings were one of the major players in the Sixers’ Ben Simmons trade market since the news emerged over the summer of Simmons’ desire to leave Philadelphia. A team mired in malaise out West, the Kings wanted to try and land a superstar as one of the organizations across the league that almost never gets that chance in free agency.

Sacramento’s prime trade piece was Haliburton, a star-in-the-making on a rookie deal with a very high ceiling and a desirable skillset in today’s NBA. The Kings reportedly doubled-down on a reluctance to trade Haliburton to the Sixers for Simmons, which at the time made it seem like the Kings simply didn’t want to move their most exciting young player.

Now? Now it seems like the Kings have simply Kangz’d. We can sift through the rubble, but I don’t like this trade for Sacramento at all. Sabonis is a very good player, but he can’t be your best player. This clears up the logjam the Kings had in their backcourt, but this also strips them of a potential perennial All-Star and the guard I assumed they most wanted to hang on to.

The good relationship Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey had with Kings GM Monte McNair apparently wasn’t strong enough to yield a deal between the two sides, and now Morey has one fewer trade partner ahead of Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline. The Kings were probably never going to be a legit threat to the Nets’ peripheral pursuit of Ben Simmons – one team has James Harden and the other does not – but it’s always nice to have multiple suitors to try and create leverage.

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Two of the other major players other than the Kings, the Timberwolves and the Hawks, would appear to still be relative possibilities in a Simmons last-ditch deal if Morey decides at the last minute that he can’t waste this season from Embiid. But his focus is reportedly locked on to a Harden move right now.

The one positive from this deal? The trade deadline’s wheels appear to be extremely greased. Maybe we’re going to see some real-deal action after all.