Knives come out for Simmons after 76ers' exit
THE 76ers' second consecutive second-round playoff exit has some American media personalities ready to send Ben Simmons on the first banana boat out of Philly.
Two members of the famous NBA holiday quartet have been raised as potential trade options for Philadelphia if it's ready to move on from the Aussie star.
As Simmons engaged in an icy exit interview with local reporters, the rest of the US media was doing its best to come up with the wildest solution to Philly's playoff woes.
Here are five of the best - or worst - takes depending on where you stand.
THE 76ERS SHOULD TRADE SIMMONS FOR LEBRON JAMES
In an extended breakdown of the 76ers' options this off-season, NBC Sports NBA insider Tom Haberstroh quoted a Western Conference executive who suggested GM Elton Brand could look at bringing in the biggest name in the game - LeBron James. "I think they very well might explore that," the executive said.
Haberstroh even wondered whether Ty Lue - who coached James to a championship in Cleveland - turned down the opportunity to rejoin forces with the Space Jam 2 star in Los Angeles because clandestine moves were afoot.
"Ty Lue turned down the Lakers job for a reason. He felt he could get a better job elsewhere," Habestroh wrote. "He's holding out for something. Could that job be Philly? It's not available at the moment. But there's more than just a little chatter about the Sixers and the Lakers being potential trade partners this summer. Crazier things have happened in this league than Lue and James on a Sixers sideline next to Embiid."
THE ROCKETS SHOULD TRADE CHRIS PAUL FOR SIMMONS
Chris Paul is 34 and, despite a throwback Game Six performance against the Warriors, appeared to be running on fumes for the majority of Houston's latest play-off failure.
But Fox Sports analyst Chris Broussard has implored Rockets GM Daryl Morey to suggest a point guard swap with the 76ers.
"They need a front court player that can run pick-and-roll with Harden who can do more than catch a lob at the rim and dunk it, (like) Clint Capela," Broussard said.
"I project this - Daryl Morey needs to get on the phone and call Philadelphia and offer Chris Paul for Ben Simmons. I don't know if Philly would do it, but Ben Simmons could run the high pick-and-roll with Harden and - even though he can't shoot - if you pass it to him on a pop he can create a play for himself or another teammate. That's something they (the Rockets) don't have.
"If you look at the history of the NBA, teams that win championships have typically had a guard and a front court player who can create offence, either for themselves or their teammates. That's what Houston lacks."
THE 76ERS SHOULD TRADE JOEL EMBIID AND KEEP SIMMONS
In short, Fox Sports radio host Colin Cowherd believes Joel Embiid is the young star who should make way in Philadelphia.
"My theory on this: You keep Jimmy Butler, you keep Ben Simmons, you trade Joel Embiid and get shooters. Don't overpay for Tobias Harris (and) keep JJ Redick."
THE SUNS SHOULD GO ALL-IN ON SIMMONS
The recent arrival of top 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams in Phoenix had local radio host Jody Oehler calling for a second Philly raid.
Oehler said Simmons, despite his inability to shoot, would be a perfect fit alongside a young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, and should be the Suns' top target if they failed to land the No.1 pick in the draft lottery.
"The Suns should be willing to trade their first round pick this year unless its No.1 overall," he said.
"A nucleus going forward of Booker/Simmons/Ayton/Bridges would be fascinating. You'd essentially swap (Kelly) Oubre for Simmons long term in this scenario which would be an obvious upgrade. Bridges's outside shooting would be vital to keep alongside Booker and couldn't be included in a trade offer.
"It may not be Zion Williamson or Ja Morant but Ben Simmons could be the answer the Suns are looking for this off-season."
THE 76ERS REALLY MISSED MARKELLE FULTZ
Perhaps the oddest take came from First Things First host Cris Carter, who it should be mentioned is a former NFL wide receiver.
In a rant about why the PG next to Simmons' name is a myth, Carter said "the process" wasn't completed this year because No.1 pick Markelle Fultz wasn't around to run the show.
"He is a pure point guard," Carter said. "Now he went through a bunch of things off the court, but that's where they have a hole in the roster. So for me, what do they need to do? They need to be able to fill that void. They need to get a point guard."
"In the biggest game of his career, (Simmons) shoots the ball five times," Carter added.
"He's an All-Star! A guy would have to have a broken wrist to be an All-Star and not shoot the ball in critical situations like this … Ben Simmons is a hole. He is a liability."