NBA rumors: Nets expected to gauge Ben Simmons’ trade value this summer
When the Brooklyn Nets sent Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving before the trade deadline last week, Ben Simmons looked like Will Smith in the series finale The Fresh Prince of Beverly Hills. Just a man alone in an empty room, and no one and nothing around him. Here is a visual image to refresh your memory:
It was the end of an era of superteams in Brooklyn that had lasted for a very dramatic year and a half. An era whose downfall began when James Harden requested a trade from the Nets at the 2022 deadline, which resulted in Simmons being sent from the Philadelphia 76ers to Brooklyn. Simmons, who wanted to leave Philadelphia as much as Harden wanted to leave Brooklyn, had to start a new life at the Nets, but that, too, could end soon.
The two-time All-Defense player showed little sign of the All-Star player of the caliber he was with the Sixers, which could lead to another trade. according to Jake Fisher of Yahoo Sports.
“The Nets are expected to evaluate what kind of trading market could materialize for Simmons after his disappointing campaign comes to an end.”
That’s not surprising given Simmons’ performance this season, which most recently included a 13-minute performance. off the bench in a loss to the Brooklyn Knicks on Monday night. Simmons finished with just two points, three rebounds and two assists in the loss, after which Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said it would take some work to figure out how to get him more minutes.
“It will be some work that we have to do” Vaughn told reporters. “Because you just look at what the lineups could potentially look like. You put another big player next to Ben, then you need to figure out what the distance is around him. Then if you put another playmaker next to him, you get to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then if you get small with Ben, then you need to figure out if you can bounce enough with him?
“So we have a challenge ahead of us. We’ll look at them head-on. We’ll figure it out. We have staff to sort it out. letting him have a group and run with the group, that part we’ll figure out, but you see the problems that lie ahead.”
This has always been a challenge in building a lineup around Simmons, whose biggest strengths are in attacking under the rim, exiting the transition and defending at the All-Defense level. But even those strengths have waned this season and he has now been benched for the last three games. He does not have an outfield shot, for which he is often criticized for returning to Philadelphia, and does not pose much of a threat without the ball in his hands. It didn’t work out for the Sixers in the end, and if the Nets find a taker, it looks like his time in Brooklyn could be over as early as this summer.
However, the problem with Simmons is that he still has two years and more than $80 million on his contract. Not many teams are willing to take on a bloated contract for a player averaging just seven points, six assists and six rebounds. All this is a career minimum for Simmons.
There’s always the possibility that Simmons will find a foothold in Brooklyn before the end of this season. While there are no superstars on the team, the Nets still have a talented roster filled with some of the best depth in the league in terms of flank depth. The lower stakes should also allow Simmons to figure things out without paying attention to him, and fewer people to analyze his every mistake. This is one of many storylines following the conflict between Durant and Irving that will be interesting to follow until the end of the season. At the very least, Simmons may be able to recover some of his trading value so the Nets can terminate his contract and add more future assets to their arsenal.