Rockets reportedly still in mix for Ben Simmons trade. Is that wise?

This post was originally published on this site

Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons wipes his face during the second half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks in Philadelphia.

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Rockets are among nine teams interested in acquiring Ben Simmons from the 76ers, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. The other teams in the mix, according to the report, are the Cavaliers, Pistons, Pacers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Kings, Spurs and Raptors.

When I wrote about a possible trade for Simmons two weeks ago, the belief was that John Wall would be involved, in part due to salary matching purposes.

With Nets general manager Sean Marks confidently stating earlier in the offseason that he believed James Harden and Kyrie Irving would both sign extensions with the team, it seemed almost a lock that Brooklyn would be formidable for the near future, barring injury. I thought then that, coupled with the murmurs of a weak free agency class in 2023, it could make sense for Rockets general manager Rafael Stone to cash in the treasure trove of Nets picks he acquired in the Harden trade last season in a deal for Simmons.

The thinking was simple. Those Nets picks immediately devalue the second one or both of Harden and Irving sign on the dotted line. Thus, it may be wise to cash in sooner rather than later. Further, the Rockets are expected to have massive amounts of cash under the cap once Wall’s contract comes off the books in 2023. But if the market is expected to be thin, it might be better to use Wall’s contract to acquire a long-term talent now.

The analysis changes however in light of recent developments surrounding Irving. His status remains completely up in the air as the Nets announced this week that he would neither play nor practice with the team until he can be a full participant. (Irving has refused to comply with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.) Harden stated recently that he would defer his decision to extend his contract with the Nets until this offseason. He did not seem too thrilled Wednesday when discussing Irving’s decision and the impact on the Nets. The Nets’ future suddenly seems far murkier than it did just a few weeks ago.

I still think Simmons could be a jaw-dropping fit next to Christian Wood, but he has very clear limitations which is what led to this present predicament. If Stone thinks Simmons’ shooting woes could place a ceiling on the Rockets’ upside, perhaps it might just be smarter for Stone to weigh the odds and hope Brooklyn implodes?  

More Rockets News