On First Take earlier today, Smith shared that there was a possibility of the Brooklyn Nets trading Kyrie Irving in a package for Simmons, but Durant ultimately nixed the idea.
Smith didn’t reveal when this alleged trade was discussed, but if it had gone down, it could have drastically altered the Eastern Conference.
“Kyrie could have ended up in Philly,” Smith said Wednesday. “[Nets general manager] Sean Marks couldn’t do that because KD wasn’t having it. KD wasn’t having it. Philadelphia might have said no, but I assure you, if it were not for Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets would be interested in making that deal.”
Smith went on to say that in his opinion, if the trade happened, it would have locked up the Eastern Conference for Brooklyn.
Kyrie to the Sixers??? pic.twitter.com/xAhHj99VAz
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 22, 2021
Simmons as a passing playmaker alongside James Harden and Kevin Durant is an intriguing scenario to think about, but it is well-known how close Durant and Kyrie are. Therefore, it makes sense that the “Slim Reaper” would veto any possible Irving trade.
Additionally, there’s the report last week from Fox Sports’ Nick Wright indicating that Kyrie would rather retire than play elsewhere if he were traded.
Some NBA news:
There are a handful of Kyrie trades that potentially make sense for the Nets, Kyrie’s agents have made it known that Kyrie would simply *retire from the NBA* if Brooklyn were to trade him.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 15, 2021
All of these hypotheticals are fun to think about, but the reality is that Philly is now stuck finding a trade partner for Simmons, who reportedly is willing to sit out rather than play for the franchise again.
Time is ticking before the start of the 2021-22 season.