Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons have a long history together. For those who may be tardy to the party, the two All-Stars had a brief rivalry over the NBA Rookie of the Year award in the 2017-18 season. The two were in a close race, but Simmons took home the award.
Simmons’ win was much to the chagrin of Mitchell, who thought Simmons should not have qualified for the race because it was technically his second year in the NBA after sitting out his entire first season due to injury. He even trolled him by wearing a hoodie with the definition of a rookie printed on the front.
Simmons and newly acquired Nets forward Royce O’Neal were photographed at one of the Nets’ summer league games in Las Vegas. Mitchell reposted the photo in a deleted Instagram story tagging his former Jazz teammate and Simmons, appearing to throw shade at the Nets star. Fans on Twitter ripped the Jazz guard for his apparent slight at Simmons.
Mitchell later clarified the post saying that he wasn’t being serious.
“No shade just jokes relax,” Mitchell said in reply to @playboileb on Twitter.
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Ian Eagle Optimistic About Nets Reconciliation
The Nets’ future continues to hang in the balance as we enter the deep waters of NBA free agency. Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the team, and multiple reports have confirmed that general manager Sean Marks is shopping Kyrie Irving. While the future of the franchise may look blue now, famed Nets play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle believes that the franchise has a chance to save itself from demise if the two sides find a ‘common ground’.
“So, the basic is that I am not sure that the Nets and Kevin Durant know right now. I know what’s been said. And I know what’s out there and I believe that Kevin Durant’s intention when he made the phone call. And I thought initially the Nets thought, ‘Okay. Let’s see what’s out there,” Eagle said on the Bob McCown podcast.
“But with each day that goes by, I think there’s a greater chance that the two sides might find some common ground and might determine that it’s in the best interest of both sides to play this out for a year, the length of Kyrie Irving’s contract, see if they can win a championship with the group that they’re assembling, then go back and re-examine whether or not this is something that’s worth a revisit.”
Eagle Questions if Nets, Durant Relationship Is Beyond Repair
But Eagle believes that for a mending of fences to happen, Durant would have to be the catalyst, like it or not, he is the ultimate chip in Brooklyn. Nothing can happen for the Nets unless he buys in. But the relationship has been fractured between he and the Nets. And Eagle wonders if the damage point is beyond repair.
“Now, that’s predicated on Kevin Durant shifting his opinion on where things stand and whether or not this is irreparable,” Eagle continued.
“That’s really the main question right now. Are you past the point of no return or are you still in a position whereas the Nets accumulate pieces, Durant and Kyrie look at the team, look around the league and determine that it’s in their best interest to stay and play and attempt to win it all.”
The Nets face a grim decision for the two stars. And the more time that passes, the less likely it seems a trade will happen this season. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.