The last time we saw Ben Simmons on an NBA court, the lasting memory is not a positive one — him being tentative, passing up a dunk in the clutch minutes of a playoff game to avoid getting fouled, part of an underwhelming playoff stretch. Then Simmons asked for a trade, refused to play in Philadelphia citing mental health concerns, forcing the 76ers ultimately to trade Simmons to the Nets for James Harden. But Simmons never played a minute for Brooklyn due to back and mental health issues, even in the playoffs when he was reportedly close to returning (frustrating his Nets teammates). Then Simmons had back surgery this offseason.
Simmons’ trade value is at an all-time low, and all the Instagram workout videos in the world will not change that. It’s so low the Nets are hesitant to trade him, reports Zach Lowe at ESPN.
Simmons hasn’t played in 13 months. He’s coming off back surgery. He quaked in the postseason — again. His trade value is at an all-time low. For their part, the Nets are wary of selling low on Simmons and cannot afford to view him as mere throw-in.
This echoes previous reports the Nets are not looking to trade Simmons right now.
Simmons’ name comes up in some of the Kevin Durant trade rumors, but not always positively because the Nets cannot trade for another player on a max rookie contract extension due to the designated rookie rule. That rules out players such as Donovan Mitchell or Bam Adebayo in a Durant trade unless Simmons is traded back to that team (or traded to a third team). While there is some speculation about that, the current value of Simmons on the open market is not that of a three-time All-Star and defensive stopper.
When Nets training camp opens, expect Simmons to be there. Beyond that, nobody knows what to expect: How well will Simmons play? Who will be his teammates? What kind of role does he expect?
It will be an interesting season in Brooklyn, no matter what.