Ben Simmons Rumors: Nets 'Widely Expected' to Gauge Trade Market During Offseason

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 15, 2023

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball during the game against the New York Knicks on February 13, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are expected to gauge the potential trade market for Ben Simmons this offseason, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports:

"What becomes of Simmons and the final two years and nearly $80 million remaining on his contract after this season is of course another dynamic to monitor in Brooklyn. The Nets are widely expected to gauge what trade market could materialize for Simmons after his disappointing campaign comes to a close. The three-time All-Star is still far from the form he exhibited during his best days in Philadelphia."

Simmons has struggled offensively during his first season on the court with the Nets, posting 7.0 points on 56.7 percent shooting, 6.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game. His playing time has shrunk from 20 minutes to 16 minutes to 13 minutes over the past three games.

Following the team's 124-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Monday, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn noted the challenges in getting Simmons more playing time, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN:

"It's going to be some work that we have to do. Because you just take a look at what the lineups could potentially look like. You put another big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him. Then if you put another playmaker next to him, then you got to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then if you go small with Ben, then you have to figure out can you rebound enough with him?

"So, the challenges are ahead of us. We'll look them head-on. We'll figure it out. We have the personnel to figure it out. Whether it is me mixing and matching throughout different pieces of the game, and allowing him to have a group and run with a group, that part we'll figure out, but you see the challenges that lie ahead."

Simmons is a three-time All-Star who made the All-NBA Third Team in 2019-20. He is also a two-time member of the All-NBA Defensive Team. During his four seasons on the court with the 76ers (2017-18 through 2020-21), Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

He made a trade request before the 2021-22 season. That wasn't immediately honored, but the 76ers dealt him to the Brooklyn Nets before last February's deadline.

He ultimately sat out the entire campaign to focus on his mental health and also address a back injury that led to a microdiscectomy in May due to a herniated disc.

Simmons returned to the court this season but hasn't resembled the player who once suited up for Philadelphia. ESPN's Zach Lowe offered a noteworthy take on the matter.


.<a href="https://twitter.com/ZachLowe_NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ZachLowe_NBA</a> has "reached a point of empathy" for Ben Simmons. <a href="https://t.co/kgXo1CMILw">pic.twitter.com/kgXo1CMILw</a>

"I've reached a point where I just feel bad for him," Lowe said. "... He's clearly a broken player mentally. He's scared of contact. He's scared of free throws. He's scared of shooting at the basket. And it's just sad to watch because we all know what this guy was as recently as two years ago."

Simmons is under contract with the Nets through 2025. After this season, he has $78.2 million left on his deal.

A trade may seem implausible given Simmons' struggles and the money he's owed, but he's not that far removed from being a perennial All-Star. He's also just 26 years old, so he could find that All-Star form again.

For now, though, Simmons is going through a tough spot as the Nets simultaneously move forward without since-traded superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.