One Brooklyn Nets star has set the not-so-shining example of how to get out of one’s current situation in the NBA.
“The [Dallas] Mavericks are not going there, and everyone knows it,” a Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney. “There is just no way. The only way he can force a trade is to sit out like Ben Simmons did and anyone who knows anything about Luka [Doncic] knows he is not going to do that. There’s just no way.”
Doncic fueled speculation that he could seek a trade with a very dour press conference in which he noted that he was not experiencing the same joy on the basketball court as he once did but he also noted that it was due to matters off the court.
But the rumors have persisted.
So much so that he had to address the matter in an attempt to put the rumors to bed and assert his allegiance to the Mavs.
Signed through the 2027 season on a five-year, $215 million contract, Doncic has little leverage now. But to the executive’s point, we have seen players throw their weight around when that deal is one or two years in. After the Mavericks made the costly investment to land Kyrie Irving from the Nets only to find themselves out of the playoffs, some dissatisfaction would be understandable.
Alas, any teams hoping to move on Doncic this coming offseason or the next are out of luck.
That includes the Nets who were floated as a potential landing spot for the four-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection.
“There is definitely a thought process of this happening eventually, and it being a matter of when and not if,” the executive told Deveney. “But the truth is, we were saying that about Giannis [Antetokounmpo], too, and that certainly changed. Bradley Beal, guys like that—there is no reason to think that Luka is bolting for the door. Not yet, at least.”
Ben Simmons’ Saga On Another Downturn
Simmons’ timeline has been on a downward trajectory since the 2021 postseason when he passed up a layup over smaller Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young while still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
There was still time in the game after that but Philly lost and the blame went to that moment.
Simmons would miss the entire 2021-22 season with a back injury and a contract holdout over mental health issues before getting traded for James Harden who had grown disenchanted in Brooklyn.
Fast forward to now and Simmons has been out since the All-Star break but had only appeared in 42 of a possible 58 games going in before getting shut down on March 28.
The remaining two years and $78-plus million left on his contract are a potential albatross.
The good news is that none of what has happened during Simmons prolonged recovery from microdiscectomy in May of 2022 has been unexpected and he remains projected to be fully healthy for next season.
Nets Could Land a Different $215M Star
Doncic may not be available but the same apparently cannot be said with 100% certainty about Young.
“With the offseason approaching, league sources say the Hawks’ front office has the green light from ownership to do whatever it wants to with the roster, which includes considering trade opportunities involving All-Star point guard Trae Young,” wrote Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on April 10. “Regardless of Trae’s desire to stay, it could be the Hawks that decide to change course following a likely early exit from the play-in or the postseason.”
There is a healthy amount of skepticism about how imminent a deal is relative to the tone with which the idea is presented by O’Connor.
Hawks ownership has given the front office free rein over personnel.
A deal here seems unlikely as well, even if it’s potentially more likely than Doncic ever coming available may be.