After a disappointing exit from the 2021 NBA playoffs, many people were expecting the Philadelphia 76ers to run it back this coming season. After securing the top spot in the east this past season it was clear that the Sixers had all of the necessary tools to compete. They just needed to figure out how to put it all together in the playoffs. It doesn’t seem like the Sixers will get a chance to run it back as ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons is demanding a trade out of Philly.
“Ben Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Simmons hasn’t spoken to the team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials,” Woj tweeted on September 21.
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Stephen A. Smith: Durant Main Reason Kyrie Won’t Be Traded
The Brooklyn Nets also had a disappointing exit in the NBA Playoffs last year. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, if it were not for Kevin Durant, the Nets would be interested in swapping Kyrie Irving for Simmons.
“Kyrie could have ended up in Philly. Sean Marks could not do that because KD wasn’t having it. KD wasn’t having it KD was like ‘Kyrie Irving ain’t going no damn place. Let me tell you something right now, Philadelphia might have said no but I assure you if it were not for Kevin Durant the Brooklyn Nets would be interested in making that deal,” Smith said during First Take on September 22.
“If Ben Simmons was in Brooklyn with KD and James Harden it’s a wrap they are winning the chip. I still think they are winning the chip anyway, but they damn sure winning the chip even without Kyrie if you got James Harden, KD, and Ben Simmons because you got somebody who is an elite defender. But they’re going to win with Kyrie too because we know Kyrie is all-world. But Brooklyn would do that if KD would let them, but KD ain’t having that.“
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Nets Were Not ‘Enamored’ With Idea of Signing Irving
Another interesting tidbit that Smith reveals is the Nets were never in love with the idea of signing Irving, to begin with. But as most teams knew during 2019 free agency, Irving and Durant were coming as a packaged deal and you could not have one without the other.
“The Brooklyn Nets were never enamored with taking [Irving] on to begin with. They did it because they knew that’s what Kevin Durant wanted. And Kevin Durant is so tight with Kyrie that when Kyrie said, ‘Yo man, Brooklyn’s the spot, not the New York Knicks,’ KD was like, ‘Cool.’ Here’s the problem: Mentally, [Irving is] not all about basketball. The problem is it creates a disinterest in him playing basketball, particularly during the regular season,” Smith said during an appearance on Sirius XM radio per Clutch Points.
“And so, because of that, in an ideal world, does any organization want to deal with that? No. But most would try because Kyrie is just that special. In the case of the Brooklyn Nets, [James] Harden and KD would be enough [to win a championship] but KD wouldn’t be happy if Kyrie walked away and it damn sure can’t be because the Brooklyn Nets pushed him away. … So, it is in Kyrie’s hands.”
Simmons and Irving are both extraordinary players that bring different skillsets to the game. There still has yet to be any solid proof that confirms the validity of these trade rumors. Whether the Nets start the season with Simmons or Kyrie, they will be in the driver’s seat to compete for a title no matter what.