Now that the Nets have officially been swept out of the postseason, courtesy of the Boston Celtics as a receipt from last year’s gentleman’s sweep at Brooklyn’s hands, let’s talk about the ever-persistent Ben Simmons problem.
This man forced his way off the Philadelphia 76ers–opting against playing in any capacity citing back issues and generally poor mental health–only to cancel his debut for the Nets even as his team was down three games to none.
The Nets were already ablaze all season with the Kyrie Irving vaccine melodrama, which James Harden couldn’t handle, ultimately leading to the Simmons deal. That the former No. 1 pick chose not to step on the court in the postseason (or at all) opens up an offseason worth of speculation on what this team will do next.
You ask the Houdini, and those talks don’t need to happen at all. What does is Simmons finding his way out of a volatile media market like New York City after being eaten alive in Philadelphia.
And while we’re at it, the Utah Jazz could probably cease to exist in their current form as well, barring a spectacular and surprising deep playoff run. This writer has already seen enough from Utah after the Jazz lost to a Dallas Mavericks team missing Luka Doncic twice.
So we’ve come up with a massive 4-team blockbuster that sends Simmons out of NYC, blows up the current Jazz, and gets the Boston Celtics a little sumpin’-sumpin’ in the process:
Boston gets: Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith
Brooklyn gets: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gay
Dallas gets: Rudy Gobert
Utah gets: Derrick White, Davis Bertans, Daniel Theis, Ben Simmons, 2023 Brooklyn Nets first-round pick, 2027 Philadelphia 76ers first-round pick, 2025 Dallas Mavericks first-round pick, 2024 Dallas Mavericks second-round pick
Why the Boston Celtics do it
Derrick White has been underwhelming as a shooter following his midseason acquisition at the NBA trade deadline, so this deal brings two elite long-range threats in the frontcourt.
Maxi Kleber has already showed what can happen when his shot is on, going 8/11 from beyond the arc in Game 2 of the Mavericks’ series against the Jazz. Dorian Finney-Smith has been given credit by Donovan Mitchell himself for the Utah guard’s efficiency struggles this postseason.
Why the Brooklyn Nets do it
Everyone seems to think that Donovan Mitchell is going to land on the New York Knicks. Ipso facto, he will somehow end up on the Brooklyn Nets somehow, just like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving before him.
Those two need more help, and if they can maintain Joe Harris and Seth Curry’s floor-spacing while adding another dynamic isolation scorer, we may have ourselves a contender. They are not one currently with Ben Simmons.
Why the Dallas Mavericks do it
Rudy Gobert would be an impressive upgrade at center in the Metroplex, and imagining lobs sent his way from Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie should give any pick-and-roll lover goosebumps all over.
A lot would be given up in this deal, but that’s the price for a superstar, and Gobert is one of the greatest defensive stars in NBA history.
Why the Utah Jazz do it
To blow this current core up. It’s not working, it’s been marred by COVID-19 disagreements back in 2020, and NBA teams that exist in the middle of the pack this long typically do a number on the long-term health of their franchise.