Former Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons has fallen and fallen hard since his last season with the team. So much so that when Steve Bulpett of Heavy Sports talked with a Western Conference executive about the former no. 1 pick, the exec had a short, sweet, and brutally honest message.
“I gave up following that sumbitch a long time ago.”
Simmons did not put up his usual numbers in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in 42 games. Not only that, but Simmons’ last game was February 15 against the Miami Heat, where he proceeded to miss the rest of the season rehab his back.
Simmons has two years left on his contract, where he’ll make nearly $37.9 million next season and then $40.3 million the season after that.
Tyrese Haliburton Was Available For Ben Simmons
While the Sixers were dealing with the Simmons’ drama during the 2021-22 season, the Sacramento Kings put Tyrese Haliburton on the table while Simmons was on the trading block, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
“It didn’t matter that Sacramento, according to league sources, had put future All-Star Tyrese Haliburton on the proverbial table, nor the conversations with Atlanta that would have shed Tobias Harris’ contract along with Simmons’ disinterest in sticking around South Philly,” Fischer reported.
The Sixers ultimately balked at Haliburton and opted for James Harden instead. Haliburton was later traded to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, among others, around the exact time the Sixers swapped Simmons for Harden.
Haliburton made his first all-star team in his third NBA season with the Pacers. While the Sixers could have potentially had the chance to get him while he was still on his rookie contract, they, at the very least, got rid of Simmons and his massive contract for an all-star caliber player like Harden instead.
Exec Proposes John Collins For Ben Simmons Swap
An NBA executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney that the Nets are looking for players who can score, like John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks, but they could only pull off a trade like that if they find a taker for Simmons
“The Nets want some guys who can score, and [Collins] can score,” the executive told Deveney. “But the only way [the Nets] can really do something big — can really get someone who can score in there — is if they can get a taker for Ben Simmons.”
The exec then explained how Simmons could potentially fit on a team like the Hawks.
“There aren’t a lot of teams where that would make sense, but Atlanta is one of them because you need to build a defensive group around Trae Young,” the executive said. “Now, if you’re the Nets, you still have to convince Atlanta that Simmons wants to play. Obviously, that is the question around him right now.”
With his massive contract and his lackluster production in the half-season that he played in his first season with the Nets, it will be a difficult task to get Simmons off their payroll.