In a shocking turn of events at last year’s NBA trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers engaged in a blockbuster trade that sent Ben Simmons to the Nets and James Harden to the Sixers. Thus far, the trade has not worked out in Brooklyn’s favor. Simmons had a lingering back injury that prevented him from making his Nets debut last season and eventually required him to have surgery during the offseason.
While Simmons expects to be a full-time participant in next month’s NBA training camp, a larger issue looms pertaining to his place on the Nets. That being, he has not played in an NBA game since June of 2021, when his Sixers got eliminated from the playoffs. And if the Nets can somehow convince their franchise star Kevin Durant to rescind his trade request and return this season, they will need players who are available to contribute now.
Not having played an NBA game in more than a full calendar year, Simmons may not fit the description of the type of player that the Nets need. And because of that, the two sides may have to part ways.
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggests a three-team trade between the Nets, Lakers, and Spurs that lands Simmons on the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive:
PG Ben Simmons
G/F Doug McDermott
Brooklyn Nets Receive:
C Jakob Poeltl
G/F Josh Richardson
G Kendrick Nunn
San Antonio Spurs Receive:
2027 and 2029 unprotected first-round picks (via Los Angeles Lakers)
2023 and 2025 second-round picks (via Los Angeles Lakers),
SG Max Christie
PG Russell Westbrook (to be bought out)
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Swartz Urges Rival Teams to Buy Ben Simmons Stock
Just because Simmons may no longer be the best fit for this Nets squad, which is under immense pressure to deliver a title, doesn’t mean that he can’t be of service to other teams. Simmons, when healthy, is one of the best playmakers and defenders in the entire NBA. Swartz urges teams like the Lakers to buy into the Simmons stock while it is still low because eventually, it will be on the rise again.
“If there was ever a time to buy stock in Simmons, one of the NBA’s best, most versatile defenders and playmakers, this is it,” Swartz writes.
“Pairing him with a mentor of his in LeBron James, someone who will forever get the majority of the praise and criticism and help get the attention off Simmons is an ideal situation for the 26-year-old as he makes his return to the court.”
Simmons Could Be Perfect Fit in Lakers Offense
Simmons has been an All-Star in three of the four NBA seasons that he has played. Just two seasons ago, he was a finalist for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
The talent is not what is lacking with Simmons, but rather, he just needs to be in an environment where he can succeed. As an elite playmaker and defender, his value would be higher in Los Angeles along with LeBron James than it is in Brooklyn.
“Simmons can handle the ball and run the offense while reducing the workload for James, and he should also be fine with Anthony Davis and the four-time MVP taking the majority of the shots,” Swartz adds.
“For a Lakers team that slipped to 21st in defense last season, swapping out Westbrook for Simmons is a massive upgrade that allows Los Angeles to use all sorts of lineups.”
While this trade proposal makes all the sense in the world for the Lakers, it doesn’t make sense for the Nets as they do not get a player that is as good or better than Simmons in return. Their best bet may be to finally put Irving, Durant, and Simmons on the floor together and see what type of product it yields.