Nets Urged to Take Drastic Next Step With Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets.

Even as the Brooklyn Nets (29-19) were rattling off 12 straight wins and suffered just four losses in 25 games from November 17 to January 8, things were not going as well for Ben Simmons individually. He actually started the stretch well enough averaging 16.4 points on 81.9% true shooting over his first five games of that span.

Since then, however, he has averaged just 6.0 points on 49.6% true shooting in 22 appearances. There was another small string of double-digit scoring performances but the overall body of work has been disappointing leading to angst among the base.

Now, amid a string of late-game benchings and a new injury concern, Simmons’ future is very much in the air.

With that on the line, one former NBA player has an idea of what needs to happen next.

Kendrick Perkins: Nets Should ‘Consider’ Trading Ben Simmons

“If I’m the Brooklyn Nets, and the trade deadline is on the way, I might consider trading Ben Simmons,” former 14-year NBA veteran Kendrick Perkins said on ESPN’s ‘NBA Today’ ahead of the Nets’ 130-122 loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons. “I might consider trading him for the simple fact that, I’m watching the [137-133 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers] late in the fourth quarter last night when it got close, he couldn’t play. You couldn’t put him on the floor.”

Simmons had 12 points, five assists, five rebounds, and one block in his first faceoff with his former team and teammate Joel Embiid.

But, to Perkins’ point, Simmons only saw about three of the final 12 minutes with none coming after the eight-minute mark. It was the same thing against the Pistons for Simmons who finished that game with zero points on 0-for-3 shooting with seven assists, one rebound, and one steal.

He also had three turnovers before leaving the game in the third quarter with knee soreness.

It’s just the latest in a line of injuries that have derailed a once-promising career trajectory that saw Simmons be named to three All-Star teams, two All-Defense teams, and earn an All-NBA nod on top of leading the NBA in steals.

“With the development of [Nic] Claxton, the way he’s been balling out – you can’t play those two together,” Perkins noted. “Seth Curry, he’s balling out. Claxton, he’s doing what he do. You’re paying Ben Simmons top dollar to be what, a backup center when Kevin Durant gets back?

The Nets are 22-15 this season when Simmons plays; a .594 winning percentage. They are 7-4 this season when Simmons is inactive which is a .636 winning percentage.

But despite evidence supporting Perkins’ notion, there might be little movement on Simmons.

Nets Unlikely to Move Ben Simmons in Trade Deadline Deal

“Not at the deadline,” a league source tells Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney. “I mean, look, if a perfect offer comes along, they would have to take it. If the Lakers want to do Anthony Davis for Simmons, yeah, that is one thing they would have to think about, of course. They have done a good job slowly building up Ben’s confidence. If he has a good second half and can have an impact on the playoffs, if he turns that corner, then that is going to change their perspective on him.”

Simmons is in Year 3 of a five-year, $177 million designated rookie max extension. That means, on top of matching the salary in any deal, interested teams also cannot have acquired another player on a similar contract via trade.

It’s part of the problem with trying to do a pivot around Simmons were to ever come to that.

All of that complexity is further complicated by the Nets’ uncertain future, not just on the court, but off of it in the front office with general manager Sean Marks.

Nets Facing Uncertain Future

“What they do next is so up in the air,” the source tells Deveney. “Sean does not know if he will be back, Kyrie does not know if he will be back, they have no idea whether is going to want out again.”

All of those dominoes are connected.

For what it’s worth, Marks was spotted conducting some scouting work on French-born prospect Rupert Rayan of the NZ Breakers of the ABL, a rising 2023 first-round possibility.

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