The Philadelphia 76ers may have gotten quite a steal on last year’s Ben Simmons trade — but it could now come back to bite them.
The Sixers shipped Simmons along with a package of players and draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets in a mega deal last year, landing star James Harden. Though the Nets had visions of pairing Simmons with stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to create an Eastern Conference powerhouse, those plans never came to fruition. Irving just demanded a trade, and the Nets moved him to the Dallas Mavericks in short order.
Now, reports indicate that Simmons has “zero” trade value, which could complicate any plans to rebuild in Brooklyn and make it difficult for the Sixers to bring them back to the trade table.
Brooklyn Nets Could Struggle to Trade Ben Simmons
After Irving’s trade to the Mavericks was finalized on February 6, it was not clear where the Nets would go next. Some insiders have suggested that they could move into a full rebuild, with Durant and Simmons going up on the trade block next, but ESPN’s Bobby Marks believes that will be difficult.
In an appearance on Keyshawn, JWill and Max, Marks said that Simmons now has “zero” trade value around the league. Another NBA executive confirmed to NJ Advance Media that Simmons’ trade value would be “very little for the amount of money he makes.”
At the same time, there doesn’t appear to be much of a future for Simmons in Brooklyn — at least not with Durant. Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported that Durant is not exactly on the best of terms with his All-Star teammate.
“Ben Simmons has missed the last four games with left knee soreness, but sources familiar with Durant’s thinking tell the Daily News the star forward has been less than enthralled with Simmons, who is averaging just 7.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and six assists per game on a max contract in Brooklyn,” Winfield reported.
Lopsided Trade Could Come Back to Hurt Sixers
While the addition of Harden has put the Sixers in the thick of title contention, his trade could make it difficult for them to work on another deal with the Nets. Back in December, Heavy Sports insider Sean Deveney reported that the Sixers had interest in Durant, but the Nets were wary of making another trade.
“There is no doubt the Sixers have asked on Durant, they did in the summer, and will keep asking about him,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “But the Nets are going to be a little put off by them already because of the Ben Simmons thing because they feel like they were set up to give away James Harden all along. So the Sixers burned them once, do the Nets want to go back and say, OK, sure, we’ll do a KD deal, too.”
There have been some suggestions that the Sixers could still pursue Durant, who might be more attainable now that Irving is gone. Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice believes Philadelphia could try to make a deal, but their lack of available draft picks means that budding young star Tyrese Maxey would need to be part of any deal.