When it comes to trades for the Brooklyn Nets, the obvious focus is on Kevin Durant. The superstar former MVP requested a trade back on June 30, but the Nets have yet to find an offer that fits their obvious high price tag for the future Hall of Famer.
At the moment, the Nets have a strong roster on paper. They have two legitimate superstars in Durant and Kyrie Irving as well as an All-Star guard in Ben Simmons and sharpshooting around them in Joe Harris, Seth Curry, and Patty Mills. If the Nets enter the 2022-23 season with this roster, one has to feel good about their chances.
With that being said, it’s the dull part of the NBA offseason so it’s high mock trade season. This fake trade comes from Bleacher Report and it has the Nets moving Simmons to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal.
Atlanta Hawks Receive: Ben Simmons
Brooklyn Nets Receive: John Collins and Onyeka Okongwu
The Nets’ interest in this deal would hinge on whether they’re comfortable going forward with Simmons as a core piece. In the wake of Kyrie Irving’s half-available season, one could forgive Brooklyn for wanting to rid itself of players who might or might not play because of reasons other than injury. Simmons’ mental health-related holdout in Philly may still loom as a concerning variable for the Nets.
Collins is a quality starter making an average of $25.5 million over the next four years, about $12.5 million less per season than Simmons will get over the final three years of his deal. With Okongwu on a rookie contract, Brooklyn leaves this exchange with two quality assets on movable salaries. As long as the Nets and Hawks have differing opinions on Simmons—with the former believing the cost and hassle aren’t worth the on-court output and the latter disagreeing—the logical underpinnings of a trade are in place.
This is certainly one interesting deal. The Hawks, of course, eliminated Simmons’ Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the East semifinals in the 2021 playoffs. That game is where Simmons had the infamous passed-up dunk, which Hawks star Trae Young defended Simmons for.
While the Nets still haven’t seen the fit of Simmons next to Irving and Durant, one has to think that maybe Brooklyn makes this deal just because they can’t exactly trust Simmons in a playoff setting. He didn’t really show much to disprove that thought in Philadelphia while John Collins was a huge piece of Atlanta making the Eastern Conference finals in 2021. This is a trade to at least consider as it would add size and athleticism to Brooklyn.