Skip to content
NBA trade rumors: Kyrie Irving for Ben Simmons?  Why the Nets-76ers deal would work (and not work)

Two months into the 2021-22 regular season, there has been plenty of NBA action worth writing home.

None of this involved Ben Simmons or Kyrie Irving.

After an unexpected arrival in the squad ahead of the season, Simmons has yet to adapt the 76ers as it looks like his time with the franchise is over. By the middle of December, all signs are that trade negotiations are starting to intensify and that a decision may be imminent.

MORE: Lakers and Knicks emerge as Simmons’ contenders

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the Nets were deprived of Irving, who was unable to join the team due to his vaccine status. Ahead of the season, the team made it clear that Irving couldn’t join until he was “eligible to be a full participant.”

Under New York City’s current COVID-19 guidelines, unvaccinated Knicks and Nets players are not permitted to enter their arenas for matches. Irving does not comply with local protocols, leaving Brooklyn to wonder when (or if) his status will change. In recent days, however, optimism has grown that Irving could join the Nets this season.

So there are two top contenders in the Eastern Conference looking to stay on a championship track and prevent these situations from becoming toxic. Why wouldn’t the 76ers and Nets make a call and trade stars? It is that simple! It works on the ESPN commercial machine and everything!

OK, so it’s a little more complicated than just matching the salaries. Let’s break down the arguments for and against this hypothetical successful deal.

Why a Kyrie Irving-Ben Simmons Swap Would Work

Irving would immediately eliminate the spacing issues that plagued the Simmons-Joel Embiid partnership. Irving had the most efficient season of his career in 2020-21, shooting 50.6% from the field, 40.2% from 3 points and 92.2% from free throws. Imagine Irving attacking the dribble with Embiid rolling towards the basket, or Embiid posting knowing that if he is passed he can tack to Irving.

Plus, Irving would actually be available to play any 76ers games. There is no warrant for vaccination in the City of Philadelphia or the State of Pennsylvania, and visiting players are not subject to the same rules in New York.

As for the Nets, they could highlight all of Simmons’ strengths and cover up his weaknesses. Brooklyn had the best offensive rating in the NBA last season in part because he shot nearly 40% beyond the arc as a team. Simmons has already shown that he can thrive whenever there are multiple shooters around him.

What happens when the game gets tight and opposing teams want to foul Simmons as soon as he touches the ball? Just let the offense go through James Harden and Kevin Durant.

More importantly, the Nets would have a member of the first defensive team who could handle the most difficult mission every night and take the burden off Durant. Even in the midst of a playoff meltdown against the Hawks, Simmons was still capable of causing trouble for Trae Young.

OK, glad we got that. Call the league office and make it official.

Why a Kyrie Irving-Ben Simmons swap wouldn’t work

Whoa, not so fast over there.

Earlier this year, The Athletic’s Sam Amick recently reported that while Simmons’ camp didn’t “strike Brooklyn off their roster,” the 76ers had no interest in Irving. Philadelphia is still hoping that Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will eventually hit the trading block. (A Lillard-Embiid couple is the dream scenario.)

MORE: Sixers Interested In ‘About 30 Players’ In Exchange For Simmons

Plus, the Sixers would have no guarantees that Irving would stick with the franchise in the long run. Irving is still two years old and around $ 71 million on his current contract, but he has a player option for the 2022-23 season. He could play the 2021-22 campaign and then pick another team in free agency. There is also a “belief in some corners of the league” that Irving would seriously consider retiring if the Nets decide to trade him, according to Marc Stein. (Irving rebuffed these retirement rumors in an Instagram Live video on October 13.)

Despite the recent ultimatum to get the shot or stay home, the Brooklyn front office gave no indication that it wanted to break its “big three.” Irving and Durant came together in a comprehensive deal in the summer of 2019. While the final decision rests with owner Joseph Tsai and general manager Sean Marks, Durant can be strongly opposed to any Irving trading.

As fun as the idea of ​​an Irving-Simmons swap might sound in theory, it just doesn’t seem realistic – not right now, at least.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.