On his show ESPN First Take, Stephen A. Smith proclaimed that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving if not for Kevin Durant standing in the way. Smith said that Durant is against dealing away the point guard. He also claimed that the Nets would deal Irving for Simmons in a heartbeat.
The surprising thing was when Smith then stated that the Nets would win the championship with Ben Simmons instead of Kyrie Irving. Let’s take a moment and break that logic down.
Ben Simmons vs Kyrie Irving
Ben Simmons is a disgraced star who, despite struggling mightily during the playoffs last season, thinks highly enough of himself to publicly say he will not play for the 76ers this season. His lack of leadership has been questioned by his own team, and things are not looking too great in Simmon’s camp.
As for Irving, despite some drama where he missed time last season for “personal reasons”, he has shown the ability to lead a winning team. Irving has won a championship and often comes through in the clutch. He is one of the better three point shooting guards in addition to having tremendous handles and passing ability.
But Stephen A. Smith believes that Simmons is the guy that would make Brooklyn an unquestioned Finals favorite.
Do the Nets Want to Keep Kyrie Irving?
I am sure that Kevin Durant wants Kyrie Irving to stay in Brooklyn. However, that can not be the only reason the Nets would desire to keep Irving. Working him off of Harden and Durant would be lethal. Also, three true superstars need time to build chemistry together. With a season now under their belts, they should begin to develop a natural feel for playing with one another on the court.
If the Nets were to trade Kyrie for Simmons. That would restart the process. Simmons would have to build chemistry with Harden and KD, and that could lead to another underwhelming playoff run for the Nets.
So are the odds of this trade becoming a reality impossible? No. Smith surely has sources within the league and is not just making these rumors up, but the logic of the deal is somewhat baffling for the Nets.
Would the 76ers Want to Acquire Kyrie Irving?
The trade would make sense for Philadelphia though. The 76ers are surely ready to move on from the Ben Simmons drama, and adding an established star in Irving would keep them competitive.
Irving would also figure to perform well with big man Joel Embiid and they could form a dynamic duo in Philadelphia. This makes even more sense given the rift between Simmons and Embiid.
In the end, I would not expect this trade to come to fruition. The Nets will likely keep Irving in the mix and Brooklyn will look to win a championship this season. But you can bet on Simmons being dealt somewhere before the season begins, just don’t expect it to be Brooklyn.