For the second consecutive season, the Brooklyn Nets were involved in a James Harden trade.
After acquiring him last season from the Houston Rockets, they dealt him to the Philadelphia 76ers this time around.
In return, they received disgruntled star point guard Ben Simmons along with Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two first-round picks.
Since the trade, the Nets have gone 6-6.
This includes two massive road wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and 76ers.
The win at Philly was a clear example of why Brooklyn is still the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference this year.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are two of the NBA’s elite scorers and can beat just about anybody on any given night.
Those two both dropped 20+ points in a 129-100 trouncing of the 76ers in Simmons’ return to Philadelphia.
Final: Nets blow out the Sixers 129-100. Kevin Durant with 25, Seth Curry with 24 and Kyrie Irving with 22. Best win of the year. Brooklyn has won two in a row and should be able to make it four by Monday. Ben Simmons took some f-bombs but walks out with a W in his return.
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) March 11, 2022
But Simmons did not play in his return to the city that drafted him.
He remains out with back soreness as he continues to ramp up his conditioning to return to “game-shape”.
And there are numerous conflicting reports about when he will return to the court.
But the Nets knew this upon trading for Simmons.
They had access to his medical records and knew of his history with back issues.
Will Nets Have Simmons For The Playoffs?
The immediate reaction after the trade was that Simmons would be ready to play within a few weeks after he got his conditioning up.
But then the timeline switched to being a few months away with the setback related to his back.
And finally, head coach Steve Nash stated late last week Simmons is “not ready for even one-on-one, let alone three-on-three or five-on-five”.
Steve Nash says Ben #Simmons is ‘not ready for even one-on-one’, per @NYPost_Lewis. pic.twitter.com/csYDq46p4j
— Hedge_out (@hedge_out) March 13, 2022
Simmons has missed time the past two seasons because of his back issues.
While eight consecutive games are the most time he has missed because of it in the past, he has not played in an NBA game since June 20 of last year.
And according to orthopedic specialists who spoke with Brian Lewis of The New York Post, there are concerns about Simmons playing at all this season.
“I don’t think that’s happening. I think the odds are against it. Think about it this way: The longer he’s been out, the longer he’s likely to stay out. Until you fundamentally change the underlying problem.”
The above quote is from Dr. Rahul Shah, a board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon.
Others believe Simmons could suit up come playoff time, but he will have had very little, if any, practice time.
However, recent updates from today say the Nets are hopeful for a Simmons return before the end of the regular season.
Steve Nash said he’s “very hopeful” that Ben Simmons will play this regular season. #nets
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) March 15, 2022
Who knows what the accurate timeline is.
Brooklyn did the best they could to receive a solid return for Harden.
But they knew what they were getting with Ben Simmons.