ben simmons
Eric Hartline | USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the point where everything is believable with Ben Simmons.

He needs back surgery? Figures. He’s feuding with Eli Apple’s uncle? Sure. North Korea wanted to fly him in to play horse with Kim Jong Un? I made that one up, but admit it, you didn’t bat an eye.

That all said, it would be a heck of a story if this ridiculous saga escalates with the Nets trading Simmons before he plays a game for them. It seems unfathomable. But it may not be, according to Chris Kirschner, who reports on the Hawks for The Athletic. He floated the idea Atlanta could try to make a deal for Simmons in a recent mailbag addressing potential trade targets:

I’d also keep an eye on Simmons, too. Several people inside the Hawks’ organization wanted Simmons at the trade deadline. The price might not be as high to land him now, especially if Brooklyn decides to move on before he plays one game for the Nets.

If the Hawks wanted Simmons that badly — and still want him even after all the nonsense that unfolded in the last few weeks — then it makes sense for them to give Nets general manager Sean Marks a call. His stock is lower than it was when the 76ers traded him. And if you are Marks, you have to at least listen.

The Nets have said all the right things about Simmons. And maybe they do believe it’s all going to pay off once Simmons is healthy; that he will be a productive star player who helps get the Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving championship train back on track. But it’s more likely they realize, like the rest of western civilization, that Simmons is wildly unreliable. And if the Hawks are dumb enough to provide them an escape hatch, perhaps they should take it.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.