Nets ‘Explored’ Franchise-Altering Deal at Trade Deadline: Report

Ben Simmons and Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

Getty Ben Simmons and Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons did not rejoin the team after they returned from the All-Star break because he was dealing with knee soreness. Simmons’ absence extended longer than expected when he had a flare-up in his surgically repaired back during his recovery. But despite everything that Simmons was dealing with, the Nets remained optimistic that their starting forward could return this season. However, according to Brett Siegel of Sports Illustrated, the Nets still tried to trade Simmons at the deadline.

“The Nets did explore trade opportunities involving Ben Simmons at this season’s trade deadline, sources told Fastbreak on FanNation, but interest in him league-wide is extremely minimal. In order for Brooklyn to get out of Simmons’ contract this year, it would have taken them attaching draft compensation in a deal as incentives for taking on Ben Simmons, and that is something the Nets were unwilling to do,” Siegel writes.

“At this point, with the Nets going in a different direction as a franchise with the departures of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it only makes sense that they find a way to get out of Ben Simmons’ contract. Not only is he taking up money and space on this roster from others who can contribute at a higher level, but mentally, Simmons is in no capacity to play on one of the league’s biggest stages in New York City.”

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Ben Simmons Urged to Leave Nets

Simmons was never viewed as a volume scorer but was still effective in his role, as he averaged more than 14 points per game each year he was with the Philadelphia 76ers. And whatever he lacked offensively, he more than made up for on the defensive side of the ball.

But Simmons has been virtually unavailable since being traded to the Nets, appearing in only 42 games over two seasons. And while his 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game are not too shabby, a max-contract player is expected to contribute way more.

The last two seasons have been ones that Simmons wants to put behind him. But at 26 years old, he still has plenty of time to revive his career. Siegel says the best place for Simmons to do so is on a small-market team.

“Whether he gets bought out of his contract or is traded in the offseason, the only chance Simmons really has to revitalize his career is by going to a smaller market team and just working on being the best version of his current self,” Siegel added.

“He may never be able to be the player he was during his first few years in Philadelphia ever again, but Simmons can still be an impact defender in this league and a key facilitator in a lesser role. This is the opportunity Ben Simmons needs in the NBA, but at this point, it is hard to envision him getting this opportunity on his current contract.”

Michael Porter Jr. Sounds off on Ben Simmons

The Nets are facing dark times with the future of Ben Simmons. But if fans are looking for a glimmer of hope, they should look no further than Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr, who has been dealing with back issues since he was a freshman at the University of Missouri.

Porter missed his entire rookie season because of a back injury and had to have three procedures before he was back to normal following the injury. But with time and patience, he has blossomed into a star and is one of the biggest reasons some think the Nuggets can win the title this year. When discussing Simmons’ current situation, Porter Jr said that the recovery process from back injuries is a slow grind.

“People don’t really care. You could say it’s a process all you want, but people just want to see production, here and now,” Porter told the Denver Post in October.

“You could say it’s a process all you want, but people just want to see production, here and now “It takes a while for explosiveness and athleticism and all those things to come back. People are so hard on Ben Simmons. I know what he’s going through.”

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