Nets Urged to Consider Unloading Ben Simmons for $41 Million Veteran Sharpshooter

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets.

If the Brooklyn Nets could unload Ben Simmons’ cumbersome contract, even at only cents on the dollar?

“With two years and just over $78 million remaining on his contract, the Nets aren’t going to find a trade market for Simmons, and will need to part with draft capital just to move him,” argues Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. “If there was ever an organization and coaching staff that could bring Simmons back to an All-Star level, however, it would be the San Antonio Spurs.”

Nets Get:

Spurs Get:

  • Ben Simmons
  • 1st Rd Pick

McDermott, 31, is averaging 10.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for the tanking Spurs.

A ninth-year, former 1st-round pick, he has long proven his worth as a marksman at the NBA level shooting over 41% from beyond the arc in each of the last two years and for his career.

The 6-foot-8 forward would add some scoring punch as a floor-spacer but, at his age and going into the final year of his three-year, $41 million contract, this would be a decision focused around moving off of Simmons.

Getting Ben Simmons Back to Peak Form

Swartz goes on to highlight not only the presence of legendary head coach Gregg Popovich on the Spurs’ sideline but also that former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is also an assistant in San Antonio.

Simmons earned almost all of his accolades under Brown in Philly.

In Brooklyn, his diminished capabilities have made things more difficult for his current head coach, Jacque Vaughn, who has admitted as much.

“It’s going to be some work that we have to do,” said Vaughn of getting more out of Simmons via the team’s official YouTube channel. “You just take a look at what the lineups could potentially look like. You put a big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him. Then if you put a playmaker next to him, then you got to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then if you go small with Ben, then you got to figure out can you rebound enough with him…You see the challenges that lie ahead.”

Things have certainly gone awry for Simmons in Brooklyn where he’s gone from sparse hints at a potential return to his playmaking, All-Defensive levels. But injuries have remained a constant theme of his polarizing career.

Averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists this season, the 6-foot-10 Swiss army knife has been sidelined since the All-Star break with inflammation in his back after dealing with knee soreness. The Nets held out for a while but Vaughn finally announced that he wouldn’t be rejoining the team this year.

Their focus is getting him back to top shape as he is further removed from the microdiscectomy he underwent less than one year ago.

Even when he was healthy, he was not making the same impact.

“Simmons still showed no interest in expanding his game to the three-point line,” Swartz writes. “His free-throw attempts also plummeted, with Simmons getting to the line just 1.4 times a game, down from the 4.9 per-night mark for his career.”

Nets Might Be Financially Motivated

Getting Simmons off of the books is not just appealing because he is not living up to his contract.

Brooklyn is currently slated to be roughly $16 million under the luxury tax line next season, per Spotrac. But a potential new deal for forward Cameron Johnson figures to take them well beyond that with the 27-year-old said to be in store for a payday that could exceed $20 million annually.

Meanwhile, the Spurs’ cap sheet is clean as they go in the tank.

“While having to give up a first-round pick just to get off Simmons’ contract stings, it’s a necessary move to get the franchise into good financial shape,” Swartz concludes.

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