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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Dan Lyons

Report: Ben Simmons’s Name Included in Nets Trade Talks

The Nets are just eight games into the 2022–23 NBA season, but by any metric, the first 10% of the year has been an abject failure. Coach Steve Nash was fired after a 2–5 start to the year, and Brooklyn followed the surprising news by coughing up a game late to the Bulls, falling 108–99 after being outscored 31–19 in the fourth quarter.

Time will tell if the team’s coaching change will get the talented roster—which features three-star players in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons—back on track, but general manager Sean Marks indicated that an overhaul in that department could also be coming.

“I’ll be the first to tell you, there’s certainly holes. We’re not a finished product,” Marks said of the Nets roster Tuesday. “We’re not playing up to our expectations, the way we should be.”

Now, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, Simmons’s name has come up in trade talks as Brooklyn desperately seeks to upgrade its roster around Durant and Irving.

Begley reports that ahead of Saturday’s loss to the Pacers, which seems to have been the final straw for Nash’s tenure, the Nets “had been in cursory talks with one Western Conference team about a deal that would return a veteran shooter,” and that Simmons’s “name came up in the talks.”

Begley says that the team is “said to be aggressive in its pursuit of perimeter shooting,” though “it’s unclear if talks advanced past the cursory stage.” For the basketball gifts that Simmons has displayed during the best of his NBA career, shooting remains a giant hole and has presented lineup issues when he shares the floor with talented young center Nic Claxton, also a non-shooter.

Nadkarni: The Nets Have Reached a New Low

Simmons’s play has been a major issue for Brooklyn. Returning to the court after missing the entire 2021–22 season as he dealt with mental health concerns and then, after being traded from the 76ers to the Nets with a back injury, the three-time All-Star has struggled on both ends of the floor with his new team.

Simmons is averaging 6.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game for Brooklyn, all career lows. A 15.7 points per game scorer over his career, Simmons hasn’t broken double-digits in six appearances this season. 

Potential Simmons trade talks come at a time when Brooklyn deals with mounting scandals, between Irving’s sharing of an antisemitic film on social media and lack of remorse thereof, and the team’s impending hire of suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka. The Nets are currently finalizing a deal to bring their former assistant over from Boston to take over the franchise, sources tell Sports Illustrated.

Sources tell SI that Udoka’s suspension stems from an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer. ESPN has reported that an independent law firm found Udoka used crude language with a female subordinate before the start of an inappropriate workplace relationship.

The Nets return to play on Friday at the Wizards.

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