On Monday, NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh reported that certain unnamed league executives believe that the potential blockbuster trade could come as soon as this summer. The thinking goes that Philadelphia realizes that its pillars of Joel Embiid and Simmons are not capable of reaching their full potential due to Simmons' inability to space the floor. This could prompt them to consider trading Simmons in favor of building around Embiid. Meanwhile, the Lakers' window to build a contender around James isn't getting any bigger.
"It's early in that process. Leonard's shot just fell through the net. But one Western Conference executive brought up a name that could be a Simmons trade target: LeBron James," Haberstroh writes. "'I think they very well might explore that,' said a rival executive of Philadelphia."
Haberstroh points out that there are a lot of wrinkles that need to be ironed out for this trade to even become a possibility. The biggest issue is the glaring gap between the players' salaries. Simmons is scheduled to pull in a little over $8 million next year, while LeBron will make over $37 million. That means Philly would have to move more than just Simmons to balance out their cap space.
But does the deal make sense for either team? By trading away key role players to clear cap room, the Sixers could be left with an injury-prone Embiid, James, and a depleted bench. As for the Lakers, adding a still maturing Simmons to its already young core wouldn't guarantee immediate success. Either way, these rumors suggest that the NBA's summer could be more seismic than we think.