With the Brooklyn Nets exiting the NBA playoffs by the hands of the Boston Celtics via a sweep, there are a lot of questions that have to be answered in the offseason.
One major concern is what is going with Ben Simmons. The star point guard acquired in a mid-season deal that shipped James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers hasn’t played in a single game with the Nets.
He was expected to make his debut during the playoffs but that never came into fruition and now fans will have to wait until the start of the next season to see him in a Nets uniform. That is of course hinging on if he’ll even be a member of the Nets next year.
A proposed deal floated by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz would ensure the Nets never see Simmons suit up, and it could be crazy enough to be worth considering.
Ben Simmons to the Lakers
This seems like something that could never happen, but big blockbuster trades happen like this all the time in NBA.
- Los Angeles Lakers Receive: PG Ben Simmons, G/F Evan Fournier
- Brooklyn Nets Receive: PF Julius Randle, C Nerlens Noel, 2027 first-round pick (lottery-protected, via Los Angeles Lakers)
- New York Knicks Receive: PG Kendrick Nunn, G/F Talen Horton-Tucker, PG Russell Westbrook (to be bought out), 2023 second-round pick (via Los Angeles Lakers)
On paper this doesn’t seem like something that would benefit two of these teams. The Lakers would still have a spacing problem as getting rid of Westbrook for Simmons creates the same problems.
For the Knicks, this would unload Randle’s $117 million contract but they essentially get nothing in return for him. The Nets look to come away as winners here as they’d grab Randle, Noel and a first-round pick in exchange for somebody who’s never even suited up for them.
With Randle not having to be the number one option in Brooklyn, Swartz argues that’d make him a good fit.
“Randle isn’t a No. 1 option, and that’s OK,” he wrote. “Instead, he’d be the starting power forward for a Nets team that could use him more as a playmaking big, one who’d have a lot less defensive attention paid to him on a loaded Brooklyn squad. While his efficiency dropped this season, the 27-year-old still averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists in his 35.3 minutes.”
Is It Likely?
Ben Simmons has created a lot of drama on his two teams he’s been on, but it would still be strange for the Nets to move on from him so quickly.
The more difficult thing to do would be to get any value from him in return as it’ll soon be a whole year since he last played basketball. While he was able to get James Harden to Philly, part of that was because Harden seemed like he was ready to leave in the offseason so getting anything in return was better than nothing.
Playing in a huge market like Los Angeles might not be the best thing for Simmons, but if this trade happens that’d no longer be the Nets’ problem.