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Ben Simmons now involved in trade talks ahead of NBA trade deadline

Enigmatic former All-Star Ben Simmons is currently sidelined with a knee injury as his Brooklyn Nets look to navigate the post-Kyrie Irving era. Simmons has sat out each of the past five games and is considered day-to-day.

The backdrop here is Thursday’s NBA trade deadline and Brooklyn’s trade of Irving becoming official ahead of its loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

With so many moving parts in the Big Apple, we’re now hearing multiple reports that Simmons has been involved in trade talks between the Nets and Toronto Raptors.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports that a deal would involve All-Star forward Pascal Siakam heading to Brooklyn for a package surrounding Ben Simmons and several first-round picks. Scotto also notes that improved Nets center Nic Claxton has been a part of trade discussions between the two sides.

All of this comes amid a previous report that Brooklyn was attempting to expand the Irving trade with Dallas to include a third team with Toronto being bandied about. In this scenario, the Nets would have acquired Fred VanVleet. That did not come to fruition with Brooklyn and Dallas making the Irving trade official Monday evening.

Related: Updated NBA trade rumors

Ben Simmons trade report doesn’t come out of nowhere

ben simmons trade, nba trade deadline
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Immediately after the Irving trade it was noted that Nets star Kevin Durant isn’t too happy about the possibility of Simmons being his primary running partner in Brooklyn.

“Yet whether or not Durant wants to remain in Brooklyn with Irving – the only other star on the roster – out of town is unclear. Ben Simmons has missed the last four games with left knee soreness but sources familiar with Durant’s thinking tell the Daily News the star forward has been less than enthralled with Simmons.”

Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News report on Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant dynamic

There’s good reason for this. Simmons has not been anywhere near an All-Star caliber player over the past couple seasons. He’s also suited up in just 37 games with the Nets this season, failing to make a major impact in the process.

  • Ben Simmons stats (2022-23): 7.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 6.4 APG, 57% shooting, 45% free throw

This leads us to question why Toronto would even engage in trade talks surrounding Simmons. It might simply be to make the salaries work with the Raptors acquiring even more assets to take on Simmons’ bloated five-year, $177.2 million contract. Said deal runs through the 2024-25 season and should be seen as an albatross.

What we do now is that Nets general manager Sean Marks still figures to be active ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

We also know that most of the conversations leading up to said deadline have involved the Raptors in some form. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that minor detail earlier on Monday.

There’s a chance that newly-acquired Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie could ultimately be flipped to Toronto in a potential deal for Fred VanVleet. That was the thought process before Brooklyn completed its two-team deal with Dallas for Irving during a call with NBA powers on Monday.

As for a potential Ben Simmons trade, it stands to reason Siakam would be involved and heading back to Brooklyn. In this scenario, the Raptors acquire a player in Claxton that they reportedly offered up a first-round pick to the Nets ahead of last year’s NBA trade deadline. Multiple first-round picks would also head to Toronto.

Heading into this week’s action, Toronto boasts a 25-30 record and is the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference. Front office head Masai Ujiri has been active on several fronts as the struggling team looks to retool on the fly. Whether that means taking on Ben Simmons’ contract remains to be seen.

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