Why the Boston Celtics should say yes:
Return: Ben Simmons, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lamb
The Boston Celtics are struggling this season and it is hard to see a clear direction for the team moving forward. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are two great players to build around but they are missing that third player. Really, what they are missing is a point guard that can run the offense for them.
The only way for Boston to get a point guard that will truly make them a title contender would be to trade Brown… which might not make them an actual contender. While Philly would love to take Brown for Simmons, the Celtics shouldn’t be interested in doing that.
This trade creates an avenue for the Celtics to get that third point guard in Ben Simmons. The Celtics do not have the all-star to trade back for Simmons so they essentially use the Pacers as the middle-man. Trade the picks to Indiana and Indiana trades the assets to Philly.
Indiana has no reason to trade for Ben Simmons if they want to hit the reset button. With how Simmons is sitting out right now, a lottery team like Indiana cannot even be guaranteed that he would play. Plus, if it was a two-team trade for Indiana and Philly they would not be able to get off of Tobias Harris, which is an important part of this trade.
The Celtics are also using the Lakers as an avenue to get off of Horford’s contract. The Celtics have to send out similar money in order to bring in Simmons and there is no chance Philly would take Horford back. That is why the Lakers are so important in this trade.
Again, maybe they could work out a trade where Horford instead goes to the Pacers and it excludes the Lakers but both the Pacers (for more picks) and the 76ers (for Harris) would benefit from getting the Lakers involved.
Ben Simmons still has value. He is a top-five perimeter defender in the league and he just needs a team that fits his style. The Celtics absolutely fit that style as having two perimeter wings that can shoot is perfect for Simmons. Defensively and offensively, the Celtics would suddenly be a really hard team to beat.
Rarely do trades of this magnitude actually make sense, that is why we hardly see them in the NBA. However, this four-team trade would positively impact all teams involved and it is hard to see one party that would turn their nose up to it.