After a meeting between Durant, his business partner Rich Kleiman, Nets’ GM Sean Marks, head coach Steve Nash, owner Joe Tsai and his wife in Los Angeles, all parties agreed to “move forward with our partnership.”
The announcement, made in partnership with Durant’s company The Boardroom, puts an end to the trade ultimatum Durant originally gave the organization on June 30th.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 23, 2022
Brooklyn can now move forward with the goal of winning a championship this season.
With Durant and Irving (seemingly) committed to the upcoming season, the Nets are fringe title contenders if they stay healthy.
However, there is still one factor holding them back from becoming bona fide contenders.
What is the deal with Ben Simmons?
The three-time All-Star hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2021 playoffs.
And even after being traded to Brooklyn, back trouble continued to hold him out.
Reports say he should be healthy for the start of the season.
But it remains to be seen what he will bring to the table.
Nets Theoretical On-Court Fit
On paper, the Nets have one of the most talented starting lineups in the league if everybody is healthy.
Irving and Durant are two of the greatest offensive talents the NBA has ever seen.
Even on small sample size, they have proven to be capable of leading an efficient offense while with Brooklyn.
Harris is one of the league’s elite perimeter threats and should receive plenty of open looks off Simmons’ drives.
On defense, Simmons is a two-time All-Defensive team selection with limitless versatility.
He has the size to handle stronger forwards and the quickness to stay in front of guards.
Pairing him with Claxton and Durant gives the Nets a trio of rangy stoppers who can switch across multiple positions.
It is not hard to envision the fit on both ends of the court.
A switchable defense that causes turnovers, leading to easy transition buckets with Simmons leading the charge.
Irving and Durant will be a nearly unstoppable duo in the halfcourt while Simmons excels in transition and hitting open shooters in bench-heavy lineups.
In theory, the Nets should be an elite offensive team with solid defensive potential.
What Will Really Happen?
Plenty of teams in the past have been good in theory.
Brooklyn does not have to search far for a recent example.
The Philadelphia 76ers with Al Horford was a team that garnered a ton of preseason hype and never lived up to the billing.
Sports Illustrated released its Top 100 NBA Players list for the 2019-2020 season. Five #Sixers players made the list:
Joel Embiid- 7
Al Horford- 18
Ben Simmons- 23
Tobias Harris- 49
Josh Richardson- 71 pic.twitter.com/nU5KmsVKXl
— Philly Influencer (@PHL_Influencer) September 13, 2019
Talent tends to win out in the NBA but fit still plays a part.
If the puzzle pieces don’t go together, you won’t end up with the full picture.
Which is what remains to be seen with Simmons.
His last game played in the NBA was June 20th, 2021.
It will be well over a year that Simmons has not participated in a professional basketball game.
And that is assuming the recent reports are accurate and that he will be ready to go for opening night.
Health is not the only thing still up in the air with Simmons.
Will he finally acquiesce to molding his talents to fit the rest of the team?
That was a major reason why his time in Philly ended.
Simmons seemingly refused to incorporate a jump shot in his game which made the fit between him and Joel Embiid untenable.
Lacking a jump shot will be less of a problem on this Nets team, but how much less of a problem will need to be answered.
Brooklyn finally received some stability when Durant rescinded his trade demand (for the time being).
That doesn’t mean they are home free for the upcoming season.