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Nets Rumors: Ben Simmons Expected to Stay with BKN After Kevin Durant Trade Request

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

James Devaney/Getty Images

Kevin Durant shook up the NBA world on Thursday before the start of free agency, reportedly requesting a trade away from the Brooklyn Nets, per multiple reports.

The Nets are reportedly fielding trade calls on basically the entire roster, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, but The Athletic's Sam Amick added that the team plans to keep Ben Simmons:

Sam Amick @sam_amick

Source close to the situation tells <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> that the Nets are expected to keep Ben Simmons. Some had rightfully wondered if there would be a ripple effect here on the 25-year-old's Nets future. <a href="https://t.co/2TnO6n71xI">https://t.co/2TnO6n71xI</a>

Assuming Simmons does stick around and finally actually plays a game for the Nets, it's extremely unclear who he'll actually be playing alongside next season.

Given all of the turmoil between Irving and the Nets before he ultimately opted into his player option, it wouldn't be shocking if he's out the door soon as well.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had no contact with the franchise after Irving opted into his deal on Monday, and a sense of inevitability existed that Durant would eventually ask for a trade, sources tell ESPN. It happened today.

One fun wrinkle for the Nets is that the Miami Heat are reportedly one of Durant's preferred destinations, per B/R's Jake Fischer, and ostensibly any trade package would start with center Bam Adebayo.

The only issue is that Adebayo and Simmons can't be on the same roster due to a quirk in the collective bargaining agreement:

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

The Nets can't acquire Bam Adebayo if they keep Ben Simmons. They can't have two Designated Rookie guys acquired via trade.<br><br>So, who do the Heat offer up to the Nets? Remember, you have to match $44M in salary!

So while the Nets may want to keep Simmons, if the best deal for both Durant and the Nets involves the Heat, Brooklyn may have no choice but to deal away Simmons.

There are now a ton of moving pieces in Brooklyn, which became the most interesting NBA team to watch this offseason after Durant's trade request.

As for Simmons, the three-time All-Star didn't play at all for the Philadelphia 76ers after requesting a trade from the team last season, or for the Nets after he was acquired in the James Harden trade.

For his career he's averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game, emerging as one of the most versatile and talented defenders in the league alongside being a fantastic playmaker.

But Simmons' unwillingness to shoot from the perimeter and struggles from the free-throw line (59.7 percent for his career) have kept him from ascending to superstar status. At 25, he's just entering his prime years.

But there are enough question marks surrounding his game, especially after he didn't play at all last season, to make building around him a risk. The Nets will have to decide if it's worthwhile to do so with Durant and Irving likely heading elsewhere.

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