Report: Nets want to trade away Ben Simmons as part of deal that would send Damian Lillard to Heat'
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The Brooklyn Nets reportedly want to trade away former All-Star Ben Simmons as part of the deal that would send Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard to the Miami Heat.

It’s been reported that Brooklyn could act as a third team to help facilitate a Lillard deal and potentially take on Tyler Herro from Miami in the process.

While the Nets would love to get off of the final two seasons of Simmons’ contract, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the former No. 1 overall pick to this point.

The Heat are certainly hoping that something can materialize to bring Lillard to Miami, especially since the team has lost some key rotation players this offseason, like Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.

Moving Simmons is going to be tricky for the Nets, as the three-time All-Star has barely played in recent seasons.

Simmons missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a variety of factors, and he was traded to Brooklyn during that season in the deal that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft returned to action in the 2022-23 campaign, but he ended up playing in just 42 games for the Nets due to injuries. Simmons also didn’t look like the player he was before missing the entire 2021-22 season.

During the 2022-23 campaign, Simmons averaged just 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 56.6 percent from the field, marking a major step back from the 2020-21 season when he made the All-Star Game with the Sixers. In that season, Simmons put up 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.

Because of his lack of production, it’s understandable why teams are unwilling to take on the final two seasons of his contract.

He’s due almost $38 million in the 2023-24 season and over $40 million in the 2024-25 campaign. It’s almost impossible to justify paying that price for a player who is injury-prone and putting up lackluster numbers when he is on the floor.

It will be interesting to see if Brooklyn can sneak Simmons into a potential Lillard deal this offseason, but as of now, it looks unlikely.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.