Who would’ve thought that Ben Simmons would be the last-man standing with the Brooklyn Nets Within a 48-hour period leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, Brooklyn dealt away stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
News early Thursday morning that Durant had been moved to the Phoenix Suns for a package surrounding Mikal Bridges and four first-round picks caught the NBA world by surprise. After all, it is among the biggest blockbuster trades in NBA history.
At this point, it just doesn’t make too much sense for Brooklyn to retain Simmons beyond the trade deadline. The team acquired Spencer Dinwiddie in the aforementioned Irving trade with the Dallas Mavericks. It also has three new wings in that of Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith.
The question here is what type of value Simmons would bring back in a trade? The Nets might actually have to offer up draft pick assets to rid themselves of his albatross of a contract. With the former All-Star failing to perform at his pre-injury level, there’s no telling what type of value he has on the market.
- Ben Simmons stats (2022-23): 7.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 6.4 APG, 57% shooting
With that said, we’re still talking about a 26-year-old three-time All-Star who remains one of the better on-ball defenders in the Association. There are going to be contending teams interested in him.
Potential Ben Simmons trade scenarios
Prior to moving off Durant, Brooklyn was involved in trade discussions with the Toronto Raptors. Said talks surrounded both Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. Meanwhile, O.G. Anunoby is said to be on the block.
Right now, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Nets to tank. A majority of their original first-round picks moving forward are in the hands of the Houston Rockets stemming from the ill-fated James Harden trade what seems to be eons ago. Perhaps general manager Sean Marks looks to flip Simmons in a win-now move for a better fit.
Unfortunately, one potential asset Toronto covets in that of center Nic Claxton may no longer be a need after the Raptors picked up fellow big man Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade Wednesday evening.
- Ben Simmons contract: 5 years, $177.2 million; free agent in 2025
This contract is going to be hard for Brooklyn to unload without offering up some type of assets to Toronto. A deal involving Gary Trent Jr., Chris Boucher and salary filler Thaddeus Young heading to Brooklyn for Simmons and young center Day’Ron Sharpe could be in the cards. In this scenario, the Nets offer up a future protected first-round pick while flipping Trent Jr. for other assets.
In on both Durant and Irving, the New Orleans Pelicans could also be a potential Ben Simmons landing spot. They are in need of a ball-handler with two-guard C.J. McCollum primarily playing that role right now. That’s a bit complicated with salaries needing to match and Larry Nance ineligible to be dealt until September.
Another option could be a Los Angeles Clippers team that’s squarely in the market for a point guard. They are looking to either trade or buy out John Wall and could use a starter to team up with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
In this scenario, Los Angeles could offer up Wall, Marcus Morris and Robert Covington as well as a protected future first-round pick. In turn, Brooklyn looks to flip the latter two for more assets while buying Wall out.
Either way, Ben Simmons will be among the most talked about players leading up to the NBA trade deadline in the matter of hours.