By Tommy Matthews
When the Sixers finally offloaded the massively overrated Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets in a trade last February, there was hope and expectation that Simmons would regain the form he showed in Philly during his first three seasons, and the confidence alongside stars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Well, both of those stars are now gone, and the hope and expectation are also gone.
Simmons, who topped out as a scorer in 2018 in Philly — 16.9 PPG to go along with 8.8 RPG and 7.7 APG — has become a marginal tree in Brooklyn.
This season he is slashing 7.0/7.8/7.5.
Not much for the $35.4 million he is making and is guaranteed for the next two seasons after Philly let Jimmy Butler go and signed Simmons to a 5-year, $177 million deal in 2019.
Maybe he has lost the confidence that once made him a threat on the court with the Sixers.
But if you watch him, it appears he has lost interest in playing.
Or, his physical injuries are just as debilitating as the mental health that, he claimed, prevented him from playing last season for the Sixers.
The Nets may be losing hope for Simmons as well. A new report indicates that the team will gauge his trade value this offseason.
“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,” Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote.
“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.”
Though the Nets may have interest in moving Simmons, the front office is going to have to be realistic.
He continues to struggle as a shooter and still shows little interest in improving in that aspect of the game.
So, while the 76ers managed to get James Harden in a deal including Simmons, the Nets likely have no expectation of landing a star in any potential trade that includes the Australian national this summer.
In fact, it’s quite possible that the Nets would have to be the team to sweeten the pot in any potential Simmons deal in order to convince a team to take on the 26-year-old’s contract.