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Ben Simmons was reportedly emotional when speaking to Kevin Durant on the phone after being traded to the Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant & Ben Simmons

Simmons reached out to Kevin Durant after becoming a member of the Nets

With the clock ticking on the trade deadline clock, the pressure was on for arguably the biggest trade in recent NBA history to get done, and it did. Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey got the deal he was looking for all along, sending disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets for his trusted star from his Houston days, James Harden.

Simmons was emotional when speaking to KD

Morey was adamant about getting this particular deal done for Simmons and was reportedly willing to wait until the summer to make the trade if needed. However, Morey is not the only one that was extremely relieved to see this superstar swap go through.

“Simmons spoke to Durant and the Nets executives who spent the day hunkered in a meeting room to execute the trade. He is not a man of many words, but they could all hear the emotion in his voice as he thanked them for trading for him and believing in him.” - Ramona Shelburne, ESPN.

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Simmons has yet to play a game for the Sixers this season due to Mental Health Issues, but many doubt this is actually the case. With this trade, Simmons gets a fresh start after a horrifying end to last season, and his demeanor in the call with Brooklyn Nets suggests that the doubt about his mental struggles is completely unwarranted. 

The trade only solves one part of the problem for Simmons, where he no longer has to play for Philadelphia, and miss games are over, but Brooklyn is a different animal when it comes to expectations. In Brooklyn, Simmons will be under a global microscope, and if he continues to cower in big moments, the whole basketball world will be looking down on him and giving the criticism he has tried to avoid. On the flip side, the Nets now have a core that they can take into the next few years, with Simmons being under contract for the next three years as the guy to set the table for Kevin Durant. 

Championship or bust scenario in Brooklyn

As for Kyrie Irving, he is still not signed for the long haul, and rightfully so, how Ben Simmons fits into what Kyrie wants to play will be a major implication on whether Irving decides to remain in Brooklyn long-term. Irving has not been the most reliable of superstars either, missing several games due to circumstances not related to injury, which may elect GM Sean Marks to try and move on from Kyrie at some point in the near future. Should it not work out with Simmons and Irving, the market for Simmons is so soft right now that it took a disgruntled quitter in James Harden to force his way out of Brooklyn to come close to any kind of deal getting done.

In Simmons, Brooklyn acquired a player that they can rely on to stay in shape and play defense. However, are they confident that Ben Simmons will not quit on Brooklyn in the same fashion as he did in Philadelphia? Are they sure that, like James Harden has done in the past, Simmons will not shrink in the biggest postseason moments? Is Brooklyn sure that Ben Simmons will not be disgruntled and disinterested due to Kyrie Irving’s part-time availability and questionable antics, giving birth to the same trust issues he had with Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia after Ben’s Atlanta Meltdown? Want to talk about pressure? The Brooklyn situation already seems more pressure-packed than what Simmons was currently facing in Philadelphia. 

The stage is set for a championship-or-bust scenario in Brooklyn, especially with Kevin Durant coming back and Kyrie Irving being available for a fair number of games this season. Many believe that Brooklyn is the one team that can mask Ben Simmons’ weaknesses and magnify his strengths. When healthy, the Nets are the clear favorites to win the championship, according to Caesar’s Sportsbook in Las Vegas. Ben Simmons got out of Philly but has now been put in a situation where he cannot fail. If he is to fail like he did last season, then this could be the end for the promising young Australian. Safe to say, he should not get too emotional as he is clearly not out of the woods just yet.

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