The NBA trade round has closed in dramatic fashion, after what may just be the biggest session in recent years.
Finally, after not playing an NBA game all season and copping millions of dollars’ worth of fines, Australian superstar Ben Simmons got his wish and was traded by the Philadelphia 76ers.
On a blockbuster day of NBA trade action, Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two-first round picks.
Brooklyn included superstar James Harden and Paul Millsap in the deal.
Last season Simmons averaged 10.7 points, 7.8 assists and six rebounds per game as the 76ers were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 NBA Finals.
It was in game seven against the Hawks when Simmons’ problems came to the surface when he passed up an open dunk with his team down by two points late in the fourth quarter.
After the game, 76ers superstar Joel Embiid described the moment as “the turning point of the game” and when Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers was asked if Simmons could be the starting point guard on an NBA championship team, he replied with “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
The game against the Hawks ended up being the last time Simmons would play for the 76ers.
At the Nets, Simmons will join a team of superstars including Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, plus Australian Boomers captain Patty Mills who could be the perfect person to act as a mentor for Simmons as he looks to get his NBA career back on track.
Mills said Simmons is ‘really hungry’ to return to the court having not played for the Sixers at all this season.
“He’s in a really good place right now,” Mills told the media. “Speaking to him a fair bit lately, seeing what he’s been up to in terms of staying ready and getting his body right and getting game ready I guess.”
Mills believes Simmons is a talented player and is excited about the opportunity to link up with his fellow Australian.
“(He’s a) tenacious defender. He’s physical, strong – hangs his hat on that side of the floor I think. And then his freakish ability to be able to be a point guard and make plays. Unbelievable passer, and (can) push the pace,” Mills said.
“He’s someone that, from a basketball standpoint, I’m very excited to play with and I have been for a long time…We’re getting a very, very talented, exciting basketball player.”
As Simmons looks to get back on the court in the near future, he has the perfect mentor in Mills at his new club. Mills is an Australian basketball legend and is leading the ‘gold vibes only’ standard of Australian basketball.
“I’ve got his (Simmons) back. I’ve always had his back, and now I have the opportunity to be with him. I’ve had his back from afar and I wish I was with him earlier in his career. I’m excited to be able to be with him in this aspect and help him in every way necessary,” Mills said.
The big question on everybody’s lips though is whether or not Simmons will flourish in his new environment. With a mentor like Mills and the backing of the Nets, we’re betting that Simmons will become a force to be reckoned with.