While the NBA season is nearly a month old, the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets have still yet to see their starting point guards in game action. Kyrie Irving's vaccination status is unchanged, keeping him ineligible, and Ben Simmons remains unready to play while he works with mental health professionals.
Neither the Simmons nor Irving situations have a clear resolution in sight. For Kyrie, there was some hope that the newly elected New York City mayor would remove the vaccine mandate that currently keeps him ineligible; however, it was recently reported that NYC mayor-elect Eric Adams has no such plans. For Simmons, there is a bit more optimism that a return could be on the way, but still no clarity on when that could be.
It was reported on Monday afternoon by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Ben Simmons had recently changed course and begun meeting with the team-recommended mental health clinician that the 76ers provided him access to. While this is a seemingly positive development, Woj insisted that it is still unclear what this development means for Simmons' potential return to play.
With the futures of these two all-star point guards in question, Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey suggested a trade that would swap Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving. In this hypothetical deal, Simmons and Irving swap places without any other players or picks being involved.
A similar deal was suggested by Bleacher Report at the end of October, that had Kyrie Irving headed to the Clippers in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, Keon Johnson, a 2028 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025. Much like this hypothetical Kyrie for Simmons swap, the justification for making such a deal just is not there for the Nets.
As has become the common analysis for any hypothetical Kyrie Irving trade, this deal only makes sense for Brooklyn if they feel as if Irving is merely a distraction that will not step foot on the court at any point this season. In this case, a swap for Simmons could make sense; however, if there is any chance of an Irving return this season, Brooklyn would be better off waiting for that moment rather than dealing him for Ben Simmons.
For Philadelphia, the situation is much different. As some suspected may happen, the team has gotten off to an 8-3 start. The strategy of surrounding Joel Embiid with four shooters is currently off to a great start. Adding Kyrie Irving into that lineup would almost certainly produce dominant results.
While admittedly a small sample size, the trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden has produced much more promising results than the pairing of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Even before Simmons' reluctance to play, many felt as if the duo of he and Embiid had already maxed out their potential. For this reason, it seems likely that Philadelphia would welcome a Simmons for Irving swap much more than Brooklyn would.
Because it seems as if Brooklyn is content with waiting for Irving's return, and is still winning games in the process, it is unlikely that they would entertain a deal for Ben Simmons. Philly, on the other hand, would almost certainly jump at the opportunity.