Stephen A. Smith says Nets wanted to trade Kyrie Irving for Ben Simmons

First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith claims the Brooklyn Nets wanted to swap Kyrie Irving for Ben Simmons, but Kevin Durant got in the way.

Stephen A.’s NBA sources can be trusted in some cases, especially in Philadelphia, where he was a reporter and columnist for decades. So, as far as Ben Simmons trade talk, we’re willing to listen.

Ben Simmons and the 76ers are in the trenches, but on opposite sides. Philadelphia cannot find equal trade value for the embattled young star, while Simmons doesn’t want to be a 76er despite the fact he’s under contract for the next four seasons. Something’s gotta give.

It doesn’t help the 76ers’ case that Simmons is willing to sit out training camp.

76ers rumors: Could Philly upgrade from Ben Simmons to another star?

Instead of trying to get equal value for Simmons, it might make sense to package him along with other young pieces for an even greater talent. A player like Kyrie Irving would fit that bill.

Unfortunately for the Sixers and the Brooklyn Nets, who may also be interested in that deal per Stephen A., franchise cornerstone Kevin Durant isn’t about to abandon Irving. KD and Kyrie are a packaged deal, as they chose to come to Brooklyn together via free agency.

That’s the only caveat to Smith’s story: Would the Nets and Sean Marks really risk engaging in Irving trade talks given the possibility of angering their greatest asset in Durant? Who’s to say that would go down smoothly?

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Even if Stephen A.’s story is accurate, it cannot and will not happen. But, it’s intriguing to think about what that Nets team might look like with Simmons leading the point, and if Irving could achieve his championship expectations with Joel Embiid in Philly.

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