The Brooklyn Nets acquired Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers last year hoping that he would form a three-headed monster of sorts with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Thus far, that vision hasn’t quite materialized.
Simmons’ defense has been almost as good as advertised. Between him and Nic Claxton Brooklyn now has the versatility to match up with pretty much anyone in the league. That has been a key driver in them going 9-1 over their last 10 and sitting 1.5 games back of the Boston Celtics for first place in the East.
Unfortunately, Simmons has regressed badly on offense. He was never massively great on that end even in his peak years with the Philadelphia 76ers, but back in those days he could at least still competently spearhead things as a playmaker. Not anymore.
So far in the 2022-23 season Simmons is averaging career lows in points, assists and free throw shooting percentage.
All of which makes it easier to understand why Brooklyn is open to conversations about changing things up as far as Simmons is concerned.
According to Heavy.com, a swap that sends Simmons to the Atlanta Hawks for someone like John Collins is within the realm of possibility.
“The Hawks would want someone more like Ben Simmons back, and maybe more,” one NBA executive said.
“The Nets are looking to go for it this year. They’re not looking to get rid of any of their top guys. Not the way they’ve been playing. If you’re the Nets, and really, if you are anybody in the league with your eyes on Collins, you are just hoping the Hawks realize they’re not getting a major payback for Collins and they lower the price.”
Would someone like Collins be a better fit for Brooklyn than Simmons? It’s debatable.
That said, the Hawks are clearly approaching something of a tipping point.
Over the past week four legitimate trade suitors have emerged for star Trae Young. The fact that he is even being discussed speaks to how seriously Atlanta seems to be exploring the idea of really shaking things up.
There have been rumors about the Hawks trying to deal Collins for months now, so clearly there is a desire to do something on that front. It’s all about just settling on the right price.
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 9, 2023
With the NBA Trade Deadline rapidly approaching, it will be interesting to see what the Hawks and Nets opt to do here.
A Simmons-Collins trade would definitely send reverberations through the Eastern Conference.
Who would ultimately emerge as the winner of that deal? That is a question that would take some time to truly answer.
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