The Nets/Sixers matchup has the making of the league’s next great rivalry, Brian Lewis of The New York Post opines. There could be some bad blood between the two sides after the James Harden/Ben Simmons trade, as Harden and Simmons both clearly left on poor terms.
Simmons refused to suit up for the Sixers this season and didn’t exactly get along well with Joel Embiid, while Harden appeared to stop trying towards the end of his stint in Brooklyn after becoming frustrated with the team’s performance and Kyrie Irving‘s part-time status.
The two teams clashed in the playoffs in 2019, creating some animosity, but Brooklyn’s roster is very different now. Lewis thinks a feud could be great for the league.
“Yeah, it could,” Patty Mills said. “Or not; we’ll have to see. And if it is, then, awesome, it’s great. I mean, we’re trying to get better as a team; if that brings the best out of us, great. Vice versa. Good for the fans. Good for TV. Good for basketball around the world.”
Here’s more on the Nets:
- Seth Curry and Andre Drummond are integrating quickly with their new team, as NetsDaily.com relays. Brooklyn has gone 2-1 since the trade was officially completed, and both players have started all three contests. “I think in our league today it’s so important to have shooters who can space the floor [and] having him to do so for Kevin [Durant], Ky [Kyrie Irving] and Ben [Simmons] is really important,” coach Steve Nash said of Curry. “It gives us depth in shooting, spacing, but I think he’s a better player than just that. He’s pretty good in pick-and-roll, pretty good at scoring out of pick-and-roll situations or playing that game taking space to create offense and he can deliver the ball pretty well in those scenarios as well.” Curry is eligible for an extension this summer. He’ll earn $8.5MM in 2022/23, the final year of his four-year deal.
- Nash expects Drummond to play a larger role with Brooklyn than he did with Philadelphia, per the same article from NetsDaily. “I think he fills needs that our group is looking for, and we’re excited for him to continue to get more comfortable in the way we play and also really get in great shape,” Nash said. “He’s going to play more minutes for us as far as the way we project things to go, so he’s used to (playing behind Embiid, but we’re going to ask him to) play more. I think part of it is adapting to the new role.” The Nets were interested in Drummond last season after he reached a buyout agreement with the Cavaliers, but he ultimately finished the season with the Lakers before signing with the Sixers on a minimum deal as a free agent last summer. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
- ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link) ponders what the future holds for Irving. He has a player option for 2022/23, but no one knows what his plans are. Only a few teams project to have money to spend on free agents this summer, and given Irving’s volatility, Lowe questions whether other teams would even offer a long-term deal. Will the Knicks make another run at Irving if he opts out? A short-term contract with the Nets could make sense if Irving opts out, Lowe posits, assuming they want him back.