Nets, Hornets Discussed Surprising Trade Involving 2 Big Names

Ben Simmons, Nets, NBA
Feb 8, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons (10) warms up prior to the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

As trade talks around the NBA heat up in anticipation of the draft, looking back at deals that nearly happened or at least were discussed holds value in understanding what path may be taken in the offseason when it’s easier to make significant changes.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, the Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets explored a potential trade involving Ben Simmons and Miles Bridges before the February 8 trade deadline.

“Charlotte, sources said, held conversations with Brooklyn about swapping Bridges in a package that would have brought Ben Simmons to the Hornets in February,” Fischer reported on Friday.

Despite previous trade talks, Bridges remained with Charlotte. His agent, Rich Paul, informed ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that the 26-year-old would exercise veto power to block trades, solidifying his outlook to finish the season with the Hornets.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets, Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets Updates

Simmons has one season left on his five-year, $177.2 million contract originally signed with the Philadelphia 76ers. He is slated to earn $40.3 million for the 2024-25 season before entering unrestricted free agency in 2025.

The former No. 1 overall pick appeared in just 15 games during the 2023-24 season, averaging 6.1 points and 5.7 assists per game before a nerve impingement in his lower back prematurely ended his season. With the previous version of the team involving Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving long gone, perhaps Brooklyn needs to keep Simmons’ expiring salary for trade purposes.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets, Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets Updates

With Simmons’s contract expiring next season, the Nets might have more success in trade discussions this offseason. He’s struggled to stay available for Brooklyn throughout his stint with the organization, which complicates his trade value and long-term trajectory.

Bridges, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Hornets in July 2023, is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Holding his Bird rights, Charlotte could have an easier path to re-signing him.

The Hornets must build the right supporting cast around Brandon Miller and LaMelo Ball going forward. Miller showed intriguing potential in his rookie campaign and could be a true long-term contributor. It must be determined if Bridges is the proper fit.

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