With highly talented guys like Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Cam Thomas, and Nic Claxton headlining the rotation, even with their lackluster 17-26 record, there's still an argument to be made that all this Brooklyn Nets team needs is a reliable playmaker at the point guard position to shape them into a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.
Just two weeks separating now and the February 8 trade deadline, many are hoping that this offensively stagnant squad will come across an outsourced upgrade at the one spot who can help turn their fortunes around during the second half of 2023-24.
Though popular targets such as Dejounte Murray and Tyus Jones are seen as favorable options to pursue to help better their odds of contending in the now, during a recent episode of the Locked on Nets podcast, host Adam Armbrecht floated the concept of a more future-oriented exchange.
When discussing the current state of the franchise, the analyst, along with co-host Doug Norrie, noted how Ben Simmons' $39 million-per-year pay between now and next season is "one of the biggest problems" this Nets team faces considering he has been sidelined for most of his tenure due to injuries and boasts an all-time low value as a result.
However, despite these unfortunate truths, Armbrecht still believes there's a way for Brooklyn to make use of the former All-Star, and it comes by swapping him in a hypothetical trade for Chicago Bulls guard, Lonzo Ball.
Nets trade idea swaps Ben Simmons for injured Bulls guard Lonzo Ball
"I have a whole other episode we could tease about a trade you make with Ben Simmons and another injured player around the NBA... Lonzo Ball. Chicago wants to move with that nice little injury protection him. Come on baby, let's dance!"- Adam Armbrecht
As mentioned in the segment, Ball is also currently sidelined due to injury, as he's undergone three separate operations since January 2022 to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee and isn't slated to make his return to action until next season.
Of course, Armbrecht's idea to swap the two guards (along with other pieces to make the finances work) is likely more so about clearing cap space for the Nets than anything else as it would save the team roughly $20 million next year, though, assuming he fully recovers for 2024-25, the concept of adding the 26-year-old from a skills perspective is also rather compelling.
A healthy Lonzo Ball has proven to be one of the better all-around floor generals the league has to offer, as he affects the game in so many different ways on both ends of the floor.
Over the last three years he has been active, the former second-overall pick found himself sporting impressive averages of 13.1 points, 6.1 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and just shy of a block while cashing in on 38.7 percent of his shots from deep.
Should he be able to come back and perform at this same type of level, allowing him to run point for this Nets core could wind up being exactly what they've been missing from a rotational standpoint, as he would bring much-needed stability in the ball handling and facilitation game (two things they are sorely lacking in this season).
Though this type of move wouldn't necessarily benefit them this season, if the front office is hell-bent on ridding themselves of Simmons's contract, assuming Bridges is ok with waiting till next year to land a franchise point guard, an exchange like this with the Bulls would be an intriguing idea to consider.
While it may be a long-shot, the concept is certainly entertaining.