Remember when the Atlanta Hawks reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2021?
Yeah, neither do they.
This year, they had to get through the play-in tournament before making the playoffs. Then they got blasted by the Miami Heat in the first round.
So it only makes sense that they would want to seek out some reinforcements to pair with resident star Trae Young.
And hey, why not Ben Simmons, who never took the court with the Brooklyn Nets following the February trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. (For the record, Simmons never took the court with the Sixers, either).
So could the Hawks and Simmons become a match made in hoops heaven?
Well, we wouldn’t go quite that far. But according to The Athletic, the Hawks could be a team to watch when it comes to potentially pursuing a Simmons this offseason.
After all, they did have an interest in him at the trade deadline. But it was instead the Nets who acquired him from the 76ers as part of the James Harden deal.
Granted, no one truly believes the Nets have given up on Simmons, who underwent back surgery earlier this month. But there is no doubts the Nets were indeed disappointed he never took the floor and, per sources, are a little nervous about what his future holds.
With that second part in mind, he may be difficult to move. Anyone who might trade for him undoubtedly would want to see him play first. At least, you would sure think so.
If so, that would rule out any shot of an offseason trade. Also, while rumors continue to swirl around the Nets — the biggest flop this side of the Lakers — it seems highly unlikely they are ready to move on from Simmons. At least not until they get a look at him next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Maybe, maybe not, though.
This is the NBA, and we were all told a Harden-for-Simmons swap would never happen before the deadline. Truth is, any trade can happen and at just about any time.
On top of that, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk did say he intended to look for ways to improve the team. Every GM says that, but Schlenk sounded a little more serious than most. As if the Hawks may be looking to make a splash.
“We made the decision last year to run the same group back. We probably should’ve tried to upgrade, as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk told reporters. “The way the season played out; we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”
A healthy Simmons next to Young may be pretty cool to watch. It could even mean cool things for the Hawks. But until Simmons shows he’s capable of playing again, it probably would be wise for the Hawks to keep that idea exactly that — just an idea.