Should the OKC Thunder trade for Ben Simmons?

(NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Damian Lillard has finally requested a trade from the Portland Trailblazers. With his sights set on South Beach, the NBA now sits and waits for the biggest offseason transaction. However, Portland has to do what’s best for them, and that involves exploring other options, teams, and packages, even expanding it into a multi-team affair. Ben Simmons is on one of the worst deals in the NBA, so it is no surprise the Brooklyn Nets are exploring options to reroute the former top overall pick.

Ben Simmons has played 42 games since the 2020-21 season, including an entire season on the shelf during the 2021-22 campaign. A year ago, the Nets forward only lasted 42 contests, ending his season in the middle of February. Throughout his career, the LSU product has missed two full seasons, totaling just 317 games since the 2016-17 season.

Should the OKC Thunder trade for Ben Simmons to help facilitate a blockbuster deal?

The Brooklyn Nets are in the mix for Damian Lillard, and in the process of acquiring Lillard, or at least preparing to, the organization is looking to move the three-time All-Star. Simmons is inked to a five-year 177 million dollar pact. That deal spans two more seasons, with 37.8 million dollars on the books for the 2023-24 campaign and 40.3 million dollars in 2024-25 before Simmons reaches unrestricted free agency.

The Oklahoma City Thunder could be a spot for Ben Simmons, hypothetically. With the recent acquisitions of Patty Mills, Victor Oladipo, and Davis Bertans, the OKC Thunder have the salaries to make it work. The Nets would receive shorter expiring deals to get off the monstrous Simmons contract.

While that works in theory, there are a few hiccups, such as the no aggregation rule for recently traded players, so these three OKC Thunder salaries could only be moved on August 31st. Patty Mills also just played for the Nets, so Brooklyn may need to see him go elsewhere in this complicated trade.

For the OKC Thunder, the only reason for taking on Simmons’ deal, as opposed to these easy-to-cut pacts they currently have, is the possible draft compensation Brooklyn can provide. The Nets would have to be willing to trade at least a couple of first-round picks, presumably to make this deal worth Sam Presti’s wild. Would Brooklyn really be willing to do that?

Ben Simmons is not someone you can count on to step on the court, so the questions about him clogging the team’s development are pretty mute right now. If push comes to shove and he turns back into his All-Star, All-defensive talent, then that is an excellent problem to have. The other bonus is the massive contract which should net a juicy pick or two while the Simmons contract falls off the books before the extensions for this young core kicks in.

There are pros and cons to each side of this argument, but ultimately, it seems like too complicated of a transaction to pull off.

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