Nets Defer 76ers' 1st-Round Draft Pick from Ben Simmons-James Harden Trade to 2023

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 1, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 29: Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on from the bench against the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center on March 29, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Brooklyn Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons 130-123. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Brooklyn Nets will defer their first-round draft selection acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Ben Simmons-James Harden trade to 2023.

The Sixers confirmed the news Wednesday, per Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported the update, noting:

"The Sixers keep No. 23 for this June's draft and Nets get the 2023 pick for use in future trades or to make for themselves. Nets can hope that 2023 pick moves up the draft board based on success of Philadelphia’s coming season."

Brooklyn received Simmons, guard Seth Curry, center Andre Drummond and a protected 2027 first-round draft pick in addition to the selection now deferred to 2023. The Nets sent Harden and forward Paul Millsap to Philadelphia.

Wojnarowski broke down more details on the draft picks when the deal initially took place at February's trade deadline.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Nets will get the Sixers' 2022 first-round pick unprotected with a right to defer until 2023 and a 2027 first-round pick protected 1-to-8, sources tell ESPN. The 2027 pick would roll over to 2028 protected 1-to-8 again. The pick turns into two seconds and $2M in 2029.

The Nets will not have a 2022 draft pick after deferring their choice to 2023. The 76ers only have the No. 23 overall selection when the draft takes place June 23.

Both teams aren't looking to build through the draft right now, however, as they both have superstar cores in place.

The question is how they'll reach the Eastern Conference mountaintop. The Nets last made the NBA Finals in 2002-03, when the franchise was in New Jersey, while the Sixers haven't won the East since 2000-01.

Both teams have big decisions to make. Kevin Durant and Simmons are signed to long-term deals in Brooklyn, but seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving, who holds a $36.9 million player option for 2022-23, could be a free agent as early as this offseason.

As ESPN's Nick Friedell noted, Nets general manager Sean Marks was "noncommittal" when asked about Irving's long-term status with the team.

As far as the 76ers go, MVP runner-up Joel Embiid is in Philly through 2026-27 on a supermax extension.

Harden holds a 2022-23 player option worth $47.3 million. He also struggled at the end of the 2021-22 regular season and during the playoffs. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported last month that people around the league don't expect the 76ers to sign Harden to a max deal.

Get Up @GetUpESPN

.<a href="https://twitter.com/WindhorstESPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WindhorstESPN</a> says to pump the brakes on Harden returning to Philadelphia next season with a max deal.<br><br>"Nobody in the NBA believes that the Sixers are going to give James Harden a max contract.” <a href="https://t.co/vASDx6p0ek">pic.twitter.com/vASDx6p0ek</a>

The Nets fell in a four-game sweep to the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in the first round. The 76ers lost to the Eastern Conference runner-up Miami Heat in the second round.