Ben Simmons nets
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a summer full of drama for the Nets. They had to deal with Kevin Durant requesting a trade and rumors surrounding the status of Kyrie Irving. The organization’s patience through that storm has paid off, though. Both Durant and Irving will start this season in Brooklyn, and it looks like Ben Simmons will be joining them on the court.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith appeared on The Rich Eisen Show earlier this week. He talked about a number of things, and one included the Nets’ status as we continue getting closer to Opening Night. Smith spent time applauding Brooklyn and unleashing a bit of criticism on both Durant and Irving.

As for Simmons, it’s notable that Smith mentioned he had a private chat with him and the point guard convinced the First Take personality he’s “ready to go” this season. Simmons arrived in Brooklyn before the midseason trade deadline in a deal that sent James Harden to the 76ers. He ended up not playing a single minute for the Nets while battling mental health issues, and eventually, a back problem that ended his year before it got started.

Here’s the full clip:

The Eastern Conference has quite a few contenders as we approach the 2022-23 NBA regular season. Having Irving, Durant, and Simmons all healthy and on the floor more often than not would be a big boost to Brooklyn. As mentioned before, Simmons didn’t appear at all last year. Durant played in 55 games, while Irving appeared in just 29 contests.

Even with how things were last season, they still made it to the playoffs before getting eliminated by the Celtics in the first round. Brooklyn has invested a lot of money into this roster, especially when it came to luring both KD and Kyrie into the fold. It’d be great for the Nets to at least get one full year of these guys playing together to see exactly what they could accomplish. Who knows, the summer nightmare they dealt with (and have lived to tell about it) could turn into a championship dream come true. Plus, Simmons probably won’t get booed whenever he decides to take in a professional sporting event in New York once he gets on the floor and starts performing.

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Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.