With the Brooklyn Nets still lurking on the periphery of the Damian Lillard trade saga, a recent photo of Ben Simmons working out with Miami Heat star Tyler Herro in the same gym has made the rounds on social media.
Simmons also shared the picture to his account which only further field trade speculation.
The cost to the Nets could be a first-round pick which Brooklyn brass may view as a bargain for the 23-year-old former Sixth Man of the Year, even with his exorbitant price tag heading into the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract. There is also the fact that the Heat’s offense ranked 25th in the NBA with him healthy during the regular season.
They boasted the seventh-best offense in the postseason, most of which he missed with a broken hand that he suffered in Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks whom they dispatched in five games.
Herro averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists this past season while shooting 37.8% from beyond the arc.
It’s not hard to see why the Nets would be willing to bring him on as they continue to retool.
“I think for our group going forward…the ability for multiple people to get downhill and get to the paint and create opportunities, that’s a need for us, yes,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said via the team on April 22.
If this picture is not enough, there is also a belief the Heat may be closer to meeting the Blazers’ asking price for Lillard who essentially eliminated the Nets from consideration.
Nets Could Flip 76ers, Mavericks, or Suns Picks
“If the Blazers can come out of this with four first-round picks, at least one or two young talents, and then salary-filler, that should get it done,” said The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress on the ‘Blazer Focused’ podcast on July 13. I’m told that right now, Miami has three firsts, Tyler Herro, filler and maybe a young player already…The question is finding that fourth first-round pick.
“I’m told it’s pretty close, they just have to figure out.”
Brooklyn won’t have control of its own first-round picks until 2028 at the earliest which ultimately would have hindered their ability to tear down the roster completely and rebuild this offseason but could benefit them here.
Any one of those could be easy to part with given the outlooks of the respective franchises. And, since it is just one of the picks judging by Fentress’ report, Brooklyn’s only true sacrifice in this scenario would be the cap space needed to get the deal done though that only leads to another set of complications.
Nets Not Planning to Trade Ben Simmons
Brooklyn has seemingly removed several names from the list of possible outgoing trade pieces starting with Mikal Bridges for whom they have already rejected sizeable offers and Cameron Johnson who they re-signed to a four-year contract worth up to $108 million this offseason. Add Spencer Dinwiddie to that list as well.
“Sources told The Post that they’re unlikely to trade Spencer Dinwiddie to shed salary,” wrote Brian Lewis of the New York Post on June 29.
But Simmons’ amnesty may come as a small surprise given he made 42 appearances – all before the All-Star break – averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists with $78 million still owed to him over the next two years as he finished a five-year, $177.2 million contract.
“There’s been league-wide speculation that Brooklyn has looked into adding Herro as an effort to offload Ben Simmons,” wrote Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer on July 12. “However the Nets…have not held any meaningful trade conversation regarding Simmons and this Lillard-to-Miami blockbuster.”
Fischer adds the Nets are “intrigued” by a healthy Simmons with this lineup.
Lewis noted that both Finney-Smith and O’Neale are indeed available for trade but neither fits Portland’s potential new timeline post-Lillard. Claxton might and there were reports that Portland could insist on including center Jusuf Nurkic in the deal.
That on top of a report from The Athletic and Stadium NBA insider Shams Charania on July 3 that a fourth team could be needed underscores how complicated this entire ordeal has been.