Proposed Nets Trade Adds $137 Million Former Champion: ‘Perfect Landing Spot’

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets could be a landing spot for Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.

“Although a possible suitor for Damian Lillard, the Nets could set their sights on a different star instead,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on July 5. “Brooklyn would be a perfect landing spot for Siakam.”

Nets get:

– Pascal Siakam
Thaddeus Young

Raptors get:

Dorian Finney-Smith
Ben Simmons
Cam Thomas
– First-round picks (2025, 2025 via PHX)

The Nets’ interest and involvement in the sweepstakes for the Portland Trail Blazers star, Lillard, has varied. Once thought to be among the top potential landing spots for the seven-time All-Star, their role has evolved into that of a facilitator potentially receiving compensation for their efforts which could include landing Miami Heat star Tyler Herro.

Siakam, 29, averaged career-highs with 24.2 points and 5.8 assists this past season adding 7.8 rebounds and just under 1.0 steals per game.

The 6-foot-9 veteran is a two-time All-Star and All-NBA selection, a champion, and was the 2018-19 Most Improved Player. He is a three-level scorer – though he is just a 32.7% career shooter from beyond the arc – who is as adept on and off the ball on both ends.

Just how much interest Nets general manager Sean Marks would truly have in an older star going into the final year of his contract (four years, $136.9 million) remains to be seen as they revamp the roster, though Siakam is undoubtedly a talented player who would raise their ceiling. The question is, does he do so to a degree that would warrant making such a commitment?

Adding Young, 35, is coming off a season of career lows with 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds. He is heading into the final year of a two-year, $16 million contract and can still provide defense, leadership, and toughness for a contender.

Giving up Thomas, 21, might be a steep price after he proved his scoring chops.

His final stat line for the season – 10.6 points (38.6% 3P), 1.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists – belies how explosive he was as a scorer at times during a tumultuous season in Brooklyn.

Veteran forward Finney-Smith, 30, is believed to be available for trade, though the Nets are looking to get back a first-round pick back to move him in the second year of a four-year, $55.5 million pact.

Brooklyn also had an interest in trading for Siakam that pre-dates their potential involvement in a Lillard trade.

That just leaves Simmons as the potential swing piece.

Toronto Had Eyes For Ben Simmons, Nic Claxton

“One of the teams Brooklyn has been most connected to is the Raptors,” wrote Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on February 5. “The Raptors had interest in Simmons in 2021 when the 76ers were shopping him. Though Scottie Barnes…would make Simmons a strange fit as they’re both non-shooters, he does count as a buy-low, high-value target who could restore his career in time.” ”

Simmons, 26, made just 42 appearances last season averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists but looks to be on track to be ready by the start of next season.

He is heading into the fourth year of a five-year, $177.2 million contract.

Toronto was also said to have eyed big man Nic Claxton – who led the NBA in field goal percentage and finished second in blocker per game – around the same time but nothing came of any of those whispers. Claxton, 24, is also heading into the final year of his contract next season.

“They have been adamant about getting Nic Claxton back in any kind of deal with Brooklyn,” Ian Begley on SportsNet New York’s ‘The Putback’ podcast on February 8. “They’re playing hardball with Brooklyn and you’d expect them to…They don’t have to trade Pascal Siakam. So they would be looking for the best deal possible.”

It is hard to say that offering Simmons as we last saw him would be enough to get a deal done with Toronto, especially with the Atlanta Hawks said to be in hot pursuit of a trade themselves.

Nets Have Been Pursuing Pascal Siakam

Brooklyn was said to have held talks with Toronto ahead of the trade deadline this past season in an attempt by Marks to appease Kevin Durant in the wake of Kyrie Irving‘s trade demand. An anonymous general manager told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney they would still be interested.

“They’ll be looking for a scorer, a true No. 1 option,” the GM told Heavy Sports in April. “We’ll have to see who becomes available but they will get in the mix…Pascal Siakam, they would have to have interest there.”

The draft picks the Nets received from Phoenix look worse after the Bradley Beal trade.

Durant, 34, is heading into his twilight but Beal, 29, is still in his prime and could help Devin Booker keep the Suns’ window of contention open a little longer than projected in February. Perhaps that makes them easier to part with in a potential trade for a long-rumored trade target in Siakam.