In theory, the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers can remedy their single-biggest problem in the lead-up to the 2021-22 NBA season by trading Kyrie Irving for Ben Simmons. The former can’t play with the team until he receives a COVID-19 vaccine, the latter doesn’t want to be in Philly anymore, and both players would be sensational fits on their new teams.
There is just one problem: Sam Amick of The Athletic reports the Sixers have no interest in making this deal. According to Amick, the Sixers are not convinced that getting Irving and Joel Embiid on the floor together would work out any better than Embiid and Simmons.
One thing is for sure — at least for now. While an Irving trade for Ben Simmons with Philadelphia is seen by some as an easy solution to both teams’ problems, sources with knowledge of the 76ers’ view said there is no interest in Irving at the moment. From management on down, it seems there is an unsurprising level of skepticism about that pairing working out any better than the Joel Embiid-Simmons duo that is zombified at the moment.
From a basketball perspective, pairing Embiid with the kind of perimeter scorer and creator that Irving is makes a ton of sense. Embiid’s never really played with someone quite like him, and it would be hard not to get excited about that possibility. But there have been rumblings that Irving, should he get traded, would retire, and it’s understandable that any of the other 29 teams would be concerned about acquiring him given that fact.