Dreaming of a trade in which the Brooklyn Nets deal Kyrie Irving to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons? Well, you might want to snap out of it.
As fascinating as such a blockbuster would be, with each team cemented as an Eastern Conference NBA Finals contender, FOX Sports 1’s Nick Wright explained Wednesday that Irving’s agents have made it known the seven-time All-Star simply would retire if Brooklyn traded him.
There hasn’t been much to suggest the Nets plan to trade Irving, or that they’d even consider a deal involving the 29-year-old. He seems very much part of their championship blueprint, alongside fellow superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden.
But the hypothetical deal for Simmons is intriguing, if nothing else, because the current Sixers star might accentuate the strengths of Durant and Harden more so than Irving. He’s also younger, at age 25, so he theoretically could help extend Brooklyn’s championship window, provided the Nets eventually succeed in transitioning to whatever their next core looks like. Simmons reportedly requested a trade out of Philadelphia.
All told, Irving probably is staying put. While he’s about as unpredictable as they come, Irving is under contract with Brooklyn for the next two seasons. And even if the Nets were motivated to trade him, for whatever reason, it’s hard to imagine another team champing at the bit to relinquish significant assets for a player who might simply walk away from basketball altogether in wake of the deal.
Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he averaged 26.9 points, 6.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 54 regular-season games with the Nets, whose championship aspirations largely were dashed by tough injury luck.
Irving spent six seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and two seasons with the Boston Celtics before landing with Brooklyn prior to the 2019-20 campaign. He won an NBA title alongside LeBron James and the Cavs in 2016.