Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Nets not planning to trade Ben Simmons, who would likely have little market anyway, per report

Late last month, just before the start of free agency, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant requested a trade. More than a week later there’s been little progress to a deal, and the situation looks likely to stretch on for weeks and possibly months as the Nets wait to find a deal they like. 

Among the many complicating factors is Ben Simmons‘ contract situation. The former All-Star, who did not play last season, agreed to a five-year, $177 million rookie max extension in 2019. League rules prevent teams from trading for multiple players on such a contract. That means that other young stars such as Devin Booker, Bam Adebayo and Andrew Wiggins cannot be traded to the Nets while Simmons is still on the roster. 

Brooklyn understandably wants a huge return in any Durant trade that includes All-Star level players and draft picks. That alone makes a deal difficult as few teams could offer the requisite package and still maintain enough talent to entice Durant. It’s even tougher with more than a dozen of the league’s best young players ineligible to be traded to Brooklyn. (For a full list, and more information on the Durant saga, click here.)

The next logical question, then, is whether the Nets would trade Simmons — either as part of a Durant deal or in a separate transaction. As of now, the answer appears to be no, according to the New York Post

Privately, Nets sources have intimated [that trading Simmons] is unlikely. And when asked if Simmons had gotten assurances he was in the Nets’ long-term plans and would not be traded, a source close to the young All-Star told The Post simply that “Ben is good.” 

Of course, the Nets might not have much choice in the matter. Simmons didn’t play at all last season, citing first mental health and then back issues. While he did have surgery and is on schedule to be ready for training camp, according to a source, one league source said there was no chatter about the Nets actively shopping Simmons, while two said there was little market for him. 

Circumstances can change quickly in the NBA, and if the Nets get the right kind of offer they may explore trading Simmons. But as The Post noted, it’s hard to imagine any team would be all that interested in him right now. He didn’t play at all last season amid, at times, confusing and frustrating circumstances. The last time we saw him on the court was Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals, when he scored five points and notably passed out of a dunk late in the fourth quarter. 

There’s no question Simmons is still a talented player, but his unique skill set makes him a difficult fit and any team would want to see him back on the floor before trading anything significant for him. It would be quite a fascinating turn of events, though, if Simmons was traded again before ever suiting up for the Nets. 

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