Following the trade deadline, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are no longer on the Brooklyn Nets roster and the franchise has a tough decision to make with how they will proceed with Ben Simmons. NBA insider Jake L. Fischer of Yahoo Sports says that the Nets may look to part ways with the forward this summer.
“The Nets are widely expected to gauge what trade market could materialize for Simmons after his disappointing campaign comes to a close,” Fischer writes. The three-time All-Star is still far from the form he exhibited during his best days in Philadelphia.”
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Nets Could Land Star in Near Future
Ideally, the Nets will find a way to ingratiate Simmons into the offense and he will become an effective player. But if that doesn’t pan out, they may have no other option, but to trade him. It won’t be an easy task. Simmons has roughly $80 million and two years remaining on his deal with his trade, volume diminishing every time he steps on the court.
However, the former All-Star is still just 26 years old and the Nets just got a boatload of first-round picks that could entice a team looking to rebuild in the future to take him on an expiring deal in 2024 and help the Nets land a star.
“The Nets can suddenly jump to the front of the line whenever another franchise focal point seeks a new destination. They quite literally hold the package that just acquired Kevin Durant, and then some. Competing for championships has been Brooklyn’s mindset under Joe Tsai’s ownership,” Fischer adds.
“Brooklyn staffers believe this version of their roster will vie for a playoff berth under Jacque Vaughn. Smart money would bet on the Nets searching for pathways back toward contention sooner than anything else”
Jacque Vaughn Gets Honest on Ben Simmons
In Simmons’ defense, he has dealt with injuries since arriving in Brooklyn. A herniated disc in his back held him out all of last season and would require him to have off-season surgery last May. He is also coming off of a five-game absence due to knee soreness this season.
But even when he has played, Simmons has been flat-out bad. Scoring has never been his calling card but the Nets need him to contribute something in that department. And scoring 16 points in the last four games is not going to help them get to where they’re trying to go. As a result, his minutes have gradually decreased. Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn says figuring out Simmons’ role in the new-look Nets’ offense will be a feeling-out process.
“It’s going to be some work that we have to do because you just take a look at what the lineups could potentially look like,” Vaughn told reporters on February 13.
“You put another big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him. Then if you put another playmaker next to him, then you got to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then if you go small with Ben, then you have to figure out if you can rebound enough with him?”