Intriguing young Pacers goalscorer mentioned in Simmons trade talks: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Indiana Pacers are suddenly the team everyone is buzzing about as Ben Simmons’ summer lasts until October.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst called the Pacers a “sleeper” team to deal with for Simmons last week, and on Tuesday SNY’s NBA insider Ian Begley reported he heard from sources close to the situation that the Pacers and Sixers had actually discussed about Simmons, and an interesting name came up during the discussions:

“League sources confirm that the Pacers are among the teams that have spoken to the Philadelphia 76ers about a potential trade with Simmons. Caris LeVert was among the players mentioned in those communications, according to SNY sources.

“It is not known whether the talks between Philadelphia and Indiana have gone beyond mere contact.”

That’s not exactly a surprising report, given Indiana’s squad lineup and lack of true All-Star talent, and it’s also remarkable that Begley isn’t 100% sure if the talks between the two parties are in-depth discussions or just keep in touch with the exploratory level chatter.

Nevertheless!

It’s fascinating to watch the Pacers go from a cloud of dust on the outskirts of the Simmons trading scene to a player in the Eye of the Storm. They were frequently mentioned as a possible suitor throughout the summer, but were never seen as top contenders for Simmons like the Timberwolves, Cavaliers or Blazers were.

But where there is smoke, there is often (not always!) Fire, so I pay close attention to the Indiana buzz.

As far as LeVert is concerned, I would gladly take him back in a deal. He’s a 27-year-old bucket-getter, the kind of confident edge guard who gets his own offense that the Sixers don’t really have on the roster.

LeVert’s three-point shot is kind of a bummer, and placing him in the starting lineup in place of a Seth Curry or Danny Green would certainly hamper the Sixers’ spacing around Joel Embiid due to his Limited range, but he would also bring an added element to that of starting five with his ability out of the dribble and near the basket.

There’s also the health issue – LeVert was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back last week – although the Pacers believe it is a minor injury.

I’d rather have Malcolm Brogdon, but if Indiana is reluctant to trade him in, LeVert works.

LeVert is only making $ 17.5 million this year, so the trade would include more coins. May be…

PHI RECEIVES: Caris LeVert, Damontis Sabonis, First round pick 2022 (Top 3 protected)

IND RECEIVES: Ben Simmons, Shake Milton

It’s not perfect, but no trade is at this stage. If I’m Daryl Morey, I’m considering taking this deal. You get defense and score, you get two returning players next year – including Sabonis, who is under contract until 2024 – and you get draft capital. Again, not perfect … but not bad.

The Sixers open the regular season on October 20 at the Pelicans.


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