July 18, 2022
The Sixers' full preseason schedule has yet to be revealed, but there will be at least one high-profile matchup featuring Ben Simmons, provided the Brooklyn Nets don't dismantle the roster between now and October 3rd.
According to a press release from the Nets released on Monday morning, Brooklyn will open their preseason against the Sixers at home, providing the (potential) stage for Simmons' return to the court after an extended absence.
Nets open preseason at home against Sixers. Full schedule: pic.twitter.com/fBVY9ZNG6e— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 18, 2022
That said, what a fascinating game to start the preseason if things continue on their current path.
Based on how many Sixers fans are actively rooting for the team to trade for Kevin Durant — which I'll remind again is basically impossible unless Sean Marks suffers some sort of severe concussion — I'm sure many of you would be happy to see Durant go to anywhere else but a team within their division. But it would be great fodder for discussion if these teams stay mostly intact over the next few years to build an actual rivalry between franchises that rarely even have to think about one another. There was and is some obvious bad blood here, and that will only get worse if they play a bunch of competitive games in the years to come.
(They didn't get off to a great start on that front, obviously, with Brooklyn beating Philadelphia down in Simmons' much-anticipated return to Philly. Maybe he'll show up in a basketball jersey to the next game there.)
As a result of the Durant sweepstakes, there's also some doubt about whether Simmons will stick around on this roster. The Nets have not indicated they want to move him, but due to CBA machinations, many of the most desirable players they could trade Durant for are off of the table as long as Simmons is on the roster. A team can have two players on designated rookie extensions (a five-year max) on the same roster, but they cannot both be players who were acquired by trade. That rules out players like Bam Adebayo and Donovan Mitchell as players who could be exchanged in a package to acquire Durant unless the Nets move Simmons to set up such a move.
As I'm sure many people in the area have said over the last five months or so, that's somebody else's problem to deal with now. All you have to decide is whether you feel inspired to take Amtrak up to NYC in order to express yourself to Simmons in person. If not, he'll be back in Philadelphia for a regular season meeting soon enough.
Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleNeubeck
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports