According to Bleacher Report, there is one destination that can absorb the remaining $78-plus million that he is owed over the next two years from his five-year, $177 million contract and, possibly, get him back to his former All-NBA form.
“Forget all the James Harden nonsense and the [Houston] Rockets‘ intention to start winning games in 2023-24,” wrote Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report on June 25. “Using a chunk of its $60 million in cap space to take on a bad contract with picks attached is the better alternative for Houston.”
In Hughes’ proposed trade, the Nets would get:
Rockets would get:
– Ben Simmons
– 2027 first-round pick (via PHI)
– 2026 second-round pick
– 2028 second-round pick
The Rockets hired former Nets assistant Ime Udoka to be their next head coach. Udoka, who was also the head coach of the Boston Celtics for one season, was also on the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff when Simmons was still there in 2019-20.
Kevin Porter Jr. Could Provide Unique Value
Porter, 23, entered the league as a first-round pick (No. 30 overall) by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2019 draft but was traded on draft night and then again roughly one week later, eventually spending his first NBA season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had an explosive falling out with team officials, leading to his trade to Houston in 2021.
This past season, Porter averaged career highs with 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals while also dishing out 5.7 assists and shooting 36.6% from beyond the arc.
While his ideal role may be off the ball, he has gotten extensive experience as a lead guard.
Porter is entering the first year of an interestingly structured four-year, $63.4 million contract that is non-guaranteed in the second and third years and has a $15.8 million team option in the final season.
Porter would likely have further value in subsequent deals. But needing to attach a pick to Simmons highlights how far the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft’s value has fallen.
Patty Mills: Ben Simmons ‘Looking Good, Feeling Good’
Simmons, 26, has been viewed as one of the worst contracts in the league over the last couple of seasons. He missed all of the 2021-22 campaign with a back injury and mental health issues then made only 42 appearances this past season before being shut down in March, again due to his balky back.
The former three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive selection averaged just 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists this past season, but could be primed for a bounce-back campaign.
“From all accords and from what I’ve heard, he’s looking after his body, and getting into his shape and healthy,” said teammate Patty Mills, per Brian Fleurantin of NetsDaily on June 24. “From what I’ve heard, he’s looking good, feeling good.”
Mills, 34, noted that we will have to “wait and see” about Simmons getting back on the court but his account tracks with reports that Simmons has taken an improved approach to his rehab amid a slew of offseason workout photos. It also follows with Nets general manager Sean Marks saying that Simmons would not need any further procedures to address the issue.
Getting Simmons healthy appears to be the Nets’ only hope of offloading his remaining money without attaching additional assets.