Adam Hunger / Associated press
The Brooklyn Nets Receive: Ben Simmons, Victor Oladipo
The Philadelphia 76ers receive: Kyle Lowry, Cam Thomas, 2025 first round pick (via MIA), 2027 first round pick (via MIA)
Miami Heat Receive: Kyrie Irving, 2023 second-round pick (via PHI)
According to Athletic Sam amick: “While an Irving-to-Ben Simmons swap with Philadelphia is seen by some as an easy fix to both teams ‘problems, sources with the 76ers’ point of view said there was no interest in Irving for now. “
OK fine. No Kyrie Irving in Philly. But we are not giving up on such an obvious and necessary exchange of troubled assets. We need to get Simmons out of Philadelphia, and Irving is basically useless to the Nets unless his vaccination position changes. This is the rare double situation “to do”.
So let’s put the Heat, who always likes chasing the stars, into the mix.
Brooklyn is the biggest winner here, if only because he’s trading someone who could literally be worthless for his efforts this season. Irving is not eligible to play at home (plus two road competitions at Madison Square Garden), and the Nets have essentially determined they are not in what would have been a complex part-time arrangement. Until he’s vaccinated, Irving will not be on the ground for Brooklyn, regardless of where its games are held.
Simmons might have his flaws, but he’s better than a guy who won’t play at all. And for a Nets team that happily puts Blake Griffin center stage in big moments, Simmons shouldn’t have a problem handling the 5 and playing with his strengths. His shooting limits could cause issues in the playoffs (Griffin is a much more menacing and willing three-point shooter), but then again: Irving currently can’t play at all. In a very real sense, this is a swap of something for nothing from Brooklyn’s point of view.
And when “something” is a three-time All-Star whose five-position switch responds directly to the Nets’ suspicious defense, that’s a quality move. Victor Oladipo, who is recovering from quadruple surgery, is a throw-in to help the hard-capped Heat reduce his salary enough to make the decision legal.
Miami just inked Kyle Lowry over the summer, but a massive, opportunistic swing for superior talent than Irving feels on the mark for the ambitious franchise. Irving wouldn’t be subject to the same local Florida mandates, and he could provide an element of downhill and shot creation that the Heat – a defensive outfit as it’s currently built – need.
Whether Irving’s light-heartedness and the eventful history of his commitment to his team would fly with the laser-focused Heat is a legitimate question. But talent is king in the league, and Miami is improving dramatically by turning the declining Lowry (35) into Irving, who just finished a hugely effective 50-40-90 all-star season.
The 76ers don’t get the young cornerstone or the 47 future first-rounders they seem to want for Simmons, but they, like Brooklyn, are unloading a guy who won’t play for the team or whose presence will create vibrations. so strange that underwater the season. Lowry, who also happens to be from the City of Brotherly Love, has been a target of Philly for quite some time as he fits in perfectly as a serious defenseman with championship experience and no fear of the Simmons moment. .
Brooklyn throws rookie scoring stud Cam Thomas, and the Heat must include a pair of futures firsts. These would hopefully satisfy Philly’s thirst for draft fairness, and Miami shouldn’t hesitate to part ways with them in the Lowry-to-Irving talent upgrade.
It would all be a lot easier if the Nets and Sixers could just agree to directly trade issues. But until that becomes a possibility, we can simmer this whimsical trio between clubs who are all focused on winning the East.