During last year’s offseason, the Brooklyn Nets were the No. 1 favorite to win the Eastern Conference for the 2021-22 NBA season — even before trading for Ben Simmons. The majority of NBA analysts were riding the sportsbooks’ bandwagon by picking the Lakers and Nets to represent their respected conferences. Those predictions never manifested. Other NBA news and sports betting content is on the main page.
Now, the Nets are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Boston Celtics swept them in the first round on Monday night. And needless to say, the Lakers failed to qualify for a play-in spot. So, where does this leave the Nets? Simmons didn’t play a single game all season. For that logical reason, his trade value is near rock bottom.
Furthermore, since Simmons hasn’t played since the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks, general managers are wondering if he is willing to play at all. During the 2021-22 regular season, the three-time All-Star spent several weeks in conditioning. He dealt with a herniated disc in his back as well.
ESPN Sources: Ben Simmons and CEO of Klutch Sports Rich Paul met with GM Sean Marks and Nets leadership today to discuss how they’ll continue to work through the physical and mental hurdles needed to get Simmons back on the court.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 25, 2022
Ben Simmons met with Nets’ G.M. Sean Marks
Not to mention, folks are asking themselves if he still wants to play basketball. The naysayers might be right on this one. On Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported his findings. “I think there was a good conversation today and a sense that there’s more work that needs to be done,” said Wojnarowski. This was regarding Ben Simmons and his agent meeting with Nets’ G.M. Sean Marks.
“But the one thing that I know both sides got out of that today was that Ben Simmons reiterated to the Nets he wants to play basketball. He wants to play for this team. He needs more help getting there.” Apparently, the guard is seeking to return to the court, but he’s not mentally there just yet.
Additionally, as stated above, even if Marks wanted to trade Simmons, he would struggle to find a new team for him. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported, “I spoke with a trusted source from a non-playoff team that was previously attracted to Simmons who told me they’re out on him.” The unknown team’s front office wants to see him play before giving away draft picks.
75% of you voters were unsurprised by the news today: https://t.co/xKHIZiFb5T
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) April 24, 2022
In the end, will the Nets trade Ben Simmons after this disappointing season? By the sounds of it, they won’t. However, if the soon-to-be 26-year-old misses the first half of next season, his career in the NBA will probably come to an end. No team will be willing to trade for him.
On another subject, fans and retired players were not happy to see the guard sit out the entirety of Brooklyn’s short playoff run. The Nets were trailing by three games in their first-round series versus the Celtics, and they definitely could have used Simmons in Game 4. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neale called him out. Shaq labeled the guard’s decision to sit out of a must-win game a ‘punk move.’ Reggie Miller agreed.
Which team won the Nets-76ers trade?
Therefore, this news leaves the Nets in an undesirable spot. On Jul. 16, 2019, Simmons signed a five-year, $169.65 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. He earned $31.590 million this season, and the guard is set to earn $33.930 million for the 2022-23 season. That is a substantial amount of money for any team to give to a high-maintenance player, especially one that hasn’t played since the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Moreover, on Feb. 10, the 76ers agreed to trade Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, a 2022 first-round draft pick and a 2027 first-round draft pick to the Nets. In exchange, the Sixers received James Harden and Paul Millsap. Honestly, it would appear that Philadelphia is winning this trade so far.
The Nets are eliminated from playoff contention, whereas the 76ers have a one-game lead over the Raptors in their first-round playoff series. Harden is averaging 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game against Toronto. Though, some fans are demanding more proof. On Thursday, for Game 6, the 76ers play the Raptors inside Scotiabank Arena at 7 p.m. ET.
Love him or hate him, at least James Harden is usually on the court. In a total of 65 games played during the regular season, Harden averaged 22 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game. He might not be the player that will win a team a championship, but the 13th-year veteran keeps things interesting.