The cost to do so could be enough to make even the most pro-active front office blush.
“No team has more cap space than the Rockets this offseason,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on June 1. “While Houston could chase certain bearded free agents, they could also use the money to take on bad contracts with draft incentives attached.”
– 2029 2nd Rd Pick
– Ben Simmons
– 2025 1st Rd Pick (via PHX)
Simmons has more than $78 million owed to him over the next two seasons with no outs as he finishes a five-year, $177 million contract. He is a three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive selection but also only appeared in 42 games during the regular season, all of which came before the All-Star break.
The 26-year-old Simmons averaged career lows with 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, though his 56.6% shooting mark from the floor was the second-highest of his career.
Nets Waiting for Ben Simmons to Get Healthy
After missing the entire 2021-22 campaign with back and mental health issues, he had this year cut short by injury as well. But he is progressing well and showing renewed vigor in his latest rehab stint.
“The group around Ben has noticed a complete change in Ben’s focus and mentality [through] this rehab and how he has attacked it and engaged with everything,” reported Brian Lewis of The New York Post on May 17.
Nets general manager Sean Marks has noted multiple times that Simmons is not expected to need another surgery while not putting a real timeline on a return.
The expectation remains that he will be ready for next season and the Hawks could use what he brings to the table.
“Simmons…fits this roster as a pass-first point guard who can defend multiple positions,” Swarts writes of the former Philadelphia 76ers’ fit with the Rockets who have a new head coach in Ime Udoka, an assistant in Philly in 2019-20.
That would be perfect for a Nets’ roster with plenty of play-finishers and no true playmakers.
Nets Have ‘No Other Option’ With Ben Simmons
The Nets would be giving up one of the first-round picks they got back in the Kevin Durant trade, an asset they’d surely like to use to add talent to the roster.
But they would also be moving on from Simmons when his value is at its lowest.
“I’ve been in this position,” wrote former NBA executive John Hollinger of The Athletic on May 4. “There is really no other option than to ride it out, because a) the possibility of using the contract as matching salary in a trade is just too valuable to pass up, and b) I mean, what’s the alternative?”
If the Nets’ only avenue for relief from Simmons’ contract – and potential luxury tax implications pending this offseason’s moves – is this deal, they certainly might be better off just riding it out until he is healthy enough to contribute.