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Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, trade rumours

It has now been 382 days since Ben Simmons performed aggressive basketball.

382 days since that cross, that defeat, and these press conferences.

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Now in a brand new metropolis, the place issues have been alleged to get higher, Simmons is looking at a crossroads second that would — with out being unnecessarily dramatic — resolve the remainder of his profession.

Kevin Durant desires out of Brooklyn. Kyrie Irving may very well be on the transfer too, and really shortly what was alleged to be an ideal basketball scenario for Simmons, presents at first as a nightmare, with a sliver of a silver lining.

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HOW DID WE GET HERE?

“I don’t thoughts it,” LeBron James mentioned in 2015 of comparisons being made between him and Simmons, who was an LSU freshman on the time.

Simmons carried that hype into the NBA, the place he was chosen with the No.1 choose, earlier than successful Rookie of the Yr in 2018 after sitting out his ‘actual’ rookie 12 months.

The famous person arc was established.

Three consecutive All-Star nods adopted, together with in his last lively 12 months in Philadelphia, however the Australian averaged career-lows in factors, rebounds, and assists because the dialog started to alter.

It was earlier than that 2020-21 marketing campaign when Simmons was floated in a possible James Harden commerce.

He was now not untouchable.

Simmons was by no means going to be LeBron James. However what was as soon as a legit debate of ‘who’d you somewhat?’ between Simmons and Joel Embiid, now had a fairly easy reply.

That lingering fact reached its climax in opposition to the Atlanta Hawks, earlier than Simmons, for psychological well being causes, determined he wanted out of Philadelphia.

Issues reached fever pitch in opposition to Atlanta.Supply: Getty Photos

So, he sat. And sat. And sat some extra.

After which, hastily, because of some different star drama within the NBA — I do know, shock — all that sitting paid off.

They are saying good issues come to those that wait.

Simmons waited so lengthy he landed in Brooklyn, subsequent to 2 of essentially the most gifted scorers in NBA historical past; the proper one-two punch to enrich the elite playmaking and defence that the Australian can convey to an NBA contender.

Scary, proper? Even Simmons thought so.

However as an alternative of a three-headed monster main Brooklyn to its first ever title, Simmons by no means obtained on the courtroom — apart from rebounding for his teammates — as Durant and Irving have been swept out of the primary spherical of the playoffs.

It was OK, although, as a result of Simmons could be wholesome for the beginning of the 2022-23 season, and that trio, on paper at the least, nonetheless made sense.

However nothing actually is sensible within the NBA.

So, Brooklyn and Irving fought over an extension, earlier than the star opted in for one 12 months. That catastrophe was averted for simply lengthy sufficient for social media pages to begin posting what the Nets beginning line-up would seem like subsequent season, earlier than Durant dropped his bombshell.

Chaos.Supply: Getty Photos

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

Who is aware of? Durant nonetheless desires out, however Brooklyn is reportedly ready for a proposal that blows them away. What that truly seems like after Rudy Gobert’s mammoth haul is troublesome to determine.

Irving is round. However who is aware of for the way lengthy. And really quickly, Simmons might discover himself in a scenario like by no means earlier than.

To make issues worse, Simmons — already a comparatively unpopular determine within the NBA world — can be the explanation Brooklyn’s potential haul for Durant is proscribed.

On account of his Designated Rookie extension, Simmons’ place on the roster means no different participant with the identical contract sort can come to Brooklyn whereas the Australian is there.

Which means the likes of Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, Trae Younger, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are off the desk, except the Nets can transfer Simmons too.

The issue is Simmons’ commerce worth has by no means been decrease.

Simmons needed to be packaged with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks for Philadelphia to land a past-his-prime James Harden.

Since then, Simmons’ inventory has solely fallen additional, the place even when Durant and Irving have been to depart, it most likely wouldn’t make sense for Brooklyn to half methods with Simmons.

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Based on an Instagram submit uploaded simply earlier than Durant’s commerce request, Simmons was “feeling unimaginable” as he equipped for a recent begin in Brooklyn.

Not lengthy after, Simmons’ Instagram account had been deactivated, and the concept of a recent begin got here with an entire bunch of questions.

Simmons might theoretically be moved in a deal to unlock that Designated Rookie spot, or he may very well be left with out Durant and Irving in Brooklyn, with a brand new solid and a completely totally different position.

And that’s the place we come to a crossroads of types.

Again in September of final 12 months it was reported Simmons’ camp wished the purpose guard traded to a group constructed round him on offence. As a substitute, he ended up in Brooklyn the place he was by no means going to be ‘the man’.

And that appeared like match given all the things he’d gone by means of.

However play this recreation with me.

Let’s say Durant goes to Phoenix, for argument’s sake (you could possibly do that with various groups). In a deal that might probably see Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton come to Brooklyn, in addition to a raft of draft picks.

And with Durant gone, let’s assume Irving will both disappear or drive his means out.

With everybody wholesome the line-up seems like this: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Joe Harris, Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton.

It will not be a title contender. And it definitely wouldn’t be a group constructed solely for Simmons. A minimum of not publicly. However man, it makes numerous sense when you think about the defence and three-point taking pictures he’d have round him.

You could possibly even make an argument Simmons could be the most effective participant on that group, the place he might both set up himself as somebody Brooklyn desires to maintain round, or raise his worth sufficient {that a} commerce truly is sensible.

In some methods, it’s the one path for Simmons to achieve the heights that have been as soon as anticipated of him. The one method to grow to be ‘the man’ once more.

After all, it could must be a Simmons unafraid of the second, of getting fouled, of taking a shot and lacking. And we don’t know that Simmons nonetheless exists. Or ever did.

However we may very well be about to seek out out.


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