As the respective Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving situations project to interfere with both the Philadelphia 76ers’ and Brooklyn Nets’ seasons, speculation around a potential Simmons-for-Irving swap has been swelling. Yet according to Marc Stein, “there is no indication — yet — that the 76ers have an interest in exploring” that trade.
Stein reports that while such a deal appears to be a solution for both sides, it’s not as simple as that because “there is a belief in some corners of the league that Irving would retire, or at least deeply ponder it, if Brooklyn suddenly traded him.” In addition to that risk, Irving could also become a free agent next summer if he declines his player option for the 2022-23 season.
“Forget how tantalizing it is to imagine Brooklyn adding Simmons’ playmaking and defense,” Stein writes. “Does any of this sound like a palatable solution for Philly?”
Separate from any Simmons-Irving talks, Stein also reports, as many others have as well, that the Indiana Pacers remain a vocal suitor for Simmons, offering Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert as the basis of any trade package. However, “Philadelphia has been unmoved” and “Damian Lillard remains the type of starry target (Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl) Morey seeks.”
Lastly, Stein touches on a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania in which Morey offered Ben Simmons to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for CJ McCollum, three first-round picks and three pick swaps, a deal the Blazers rejected.
“It’s clear that (Morey) feels no rush to make a move,” Stein writes. “If there are any stressors making the Sixers uncomfortable, while Simmons stays away and faces frequent salary deductions, they are difficult to detect.”