With Brooklyn Nets opting to offload unhappy star James Harden, negotiations proceeded to make the trade worthwhile to Steve Nash’s side.
This led to the capture of talented, but arguably troubled, Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons and the obvious question that begs an answer is. Do the Nets need the Australian?
Simmons has been persona non grata in Philadelphia since his rather limp displays in last year’s playoffs, and rumors have been circulating about his future ever since. Now he gets to have a fresh start at the Nets, and the timing could be key for Nash.
Brooklyn started the season like a train but have now suffered an astonishing run of 11 straight defeats, and if you look at this sports odds comparison site, you’ll see that the team that was once runaway favorites for the NBA title are now third in the list at (+600) behind the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns.
By all accounts, the president of basketball operations at Philadelphia 76ers, Daryl Morey, was incredibly focused on getting Simmons out from his franchise, and in doing so, he secured the services of Nets’ star James Harden who was also experiencing something of a dip in Brooklyn.
The friendship between Morey and Nash apparently helped get the deal sewn up, and it will be interesting to see what Simmons the Nets get. Will it be the consistent performer who made the NBA All-Star team three years in a row or the one that struggles to put together strong displays in the postseason?
Perhaps another issue is the possibility that Simmons could prove a disruption in the locker room, and as evidence of this potentially being a problem, one need only look at the parting words of his former team-mate Joel Embiid when questioned about his departure to Brooklyn;
“I honestly don’t care,”
“Like I always said, it’s unfortunate how everything happened because you look at the history. Obviously, we didn’t get it done as far as winning in the playoffs, but you look at the history being on the court, what we did in the regular season, we were dominant, so it’s unfortunate that winning was not the biggest factor.”
“It’s unfortunate that, for him, having his own team and I guess being a star was more of his priorities,”
“I’ve always thought that everything was great. The fit was great, but unfortunately, Ben thought that it wasn’t, but we all move on.” Embiid concluded.
Simmons hasn’t played in the NBA since last season’s playoffs and is bound to be rusty,, so one wonders when he’ll get back on the court and whether he’ll have what it takes to get Brooklyn’s season back on track.
The trade also saw the Brooklyn Nets secure Seth Curry and Andre Drummond plus the first-round draft pick in 2022 and 2027 while Paul Millsap moved with Harden to the 76ers. All in all, you have to think that it’s the Nets who should (in theory) make the most from this trade.