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Nets prepare to face the Sixers, as the NBA’s 2 biggest dramas collide

Sixers Nets, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, NBA

The Brooklyn Nets’ season continues on the road Friday night. Brooklyn fell at the hands of the champs, the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. They’ll take on another top Eastern contender from 2021 when they visit Philadelphia. But this is no ordinary matchup. Brooklyn and Philadelphia each have their own ongoing dramas to contend with. They’ll likely both be missing key players and former first overall picks (from 2011 and 2016 respectively) in Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.

The Sixers drama

The Sixers have dealt with former first overall pick Ben Simmons wanting to be traded, ever since the team’s shocking loss to the upstart Hawks in the second round last season. The saga pressed on throughout the entire offseason for the Philly. It’s only gotten weirder since Simmons rejoined his team causing things to spiral towards a point of no return. Everyone has wondered if Sixers Team President Daryl Morey is going to honor the three-time All-Star’s request or if Simmons might hold out. If the Australian-born “guard” does opt to hold out (something he’s reportedly willing to do) it would be unprecedented, given he has four years remaining on a max-contract. He’s already gotten himself suspended for the season opener in New Orleans for “conduct detrimental to the team” during practice.

The Sixers would surely love to swap Simmons with someone like Blazers’ star Damian Lillard, but Dame doesn’t exactly sound like he’s itching to leave Portland.

Even the NBA commissioner Adam Silver is weighing in on this one, calling the saga ” something you never like to see as a league.”

Simmons could face major financial repurcussions too. If the whole things sounds vaguely familiar that’s because it is… well at least a little bit.

The Nets’ saga

You know this one. Kyrie Irving is not vaccinated for COVID-19 plus its variants and in New York (and San Francisco) that means you can’t play ball. Irving would be eligible to play on the road but the Nets Brass met and made the decision not to honor any part-time players this season. That leaves Irving out for the entirety of this season barring a change (either he gets vaccinated, he gets traded, or the team changes their stance).

Like Simmons, Irving is also set to lose big money.

As further incentive for Irving to concede and take the jab, the team has reportedly taken a max-extension off the table. Silver offered an opinion on this situation as well:

The parallels between each franchise are almost Shakespearian. Each team has a former number one overall pick who likely won’t appear in a big game Friday featuring the East’s top two regular season teams a season ago. Neither team is sure when their star will (if ever) return. Each team has arrived at some sort of stalemate with their player. Each team’s situation represents a major headache for the NBA. If this were a movie the players would certainly be traded for each other, wouldn’t they?

It doesn’t sound like the Sixers are interested in a Ben Simmons-for-Kyrie Irving swap. And according to some clever detective work by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, appearing on Pablo Torre’s ESPN Daily pod, it doesn’t sound like Simmons would necessarily present a solution for Brooklyn anyway.

So we can probably count on some fascinating updates on these respective dramas during the game. What might Klutch leak at the half? Will there be an Adrian Wojnarowski bomb at halftime on Irving? Because oh by the way, there will also be a game to watch featuring three of the league’s best players in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Joel Embiid. How often do three of the game’s top ten players take the court while somehow being relegated to afterthoughts? That’s how weird these respective dramas have gotten.