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ESPN's Stephen A. Smith backtracks on report of Nets-76ers commerce involving Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons

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Stephen A. Smith is a commanding tv presence, utilizing his boisterous voice and character to supply daring sports activities takes. His feedback Wednesday on Nets level guard Kyrie Irving had been no totally different. 

Sooner or later after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported 76ers ahead Ben Simmons intends to by no means play one other recreation for the workforce, Smith stated on “First Take” that Irving may have ended up in Philadelphia in a commerce for Simmons, although the concept was nixed by Nets ahead Kevin Durant. 

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“Let me let you know one thing proper now — Philadelphia might need stated no, however I guarantee you, if it weren’t for Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets could be fascinated about making that deal,” Smith stated. 

“If Ben Simmons was in Brooklyn with KD and James Harden, it is a wrap. They’re profitable the chip,” Smith added. 

Smith has been criticized for his takes up to now, together with a current providing wherein he stated MLB star Shohei Ohtani’s incapacity to talk English “hurts the sport.” Twitter customers had been fast to query Smith’s report about Irving and Simmons, arguing that Irving — a gifted ballhandler who can rating in a mess of how — is a greater match for Brooklyn than Simmons, a extra succesful defender who cannot rating on the identical charge. 

On Thursday, Smith tried to make clear that he by no means stated the Nets put collectively a commerce bundle for Simmons. Nonetheless, customers weren’t forgiving. 

MORE: Rivers says feedback about Simmons’ capability to guide a championship had been ‘misrepresented’

It is laborious to think about that Simmons’ slot in Brooklyn could be higher than Irving’s. Within the 2021 NBA playoffs, Simmons shot 25 of 73 (34 p.c) from the free throw line, which was the second-worst share from the stripe in playoff historical past for a participant with not less than 50 makes an attempt, in keeping with CBS Sports activities HQ. 

MORE: How firing GM impacts T-wolves’ future for Cities and potential Simmons commerce

Simmons has additionally struggled to determine a 3-point shot throughout his profession, one thing that has held the 76ers again from advancing additional within the playoffs. That will additionally appear to be a detriment to the Nets, who final season completed with essentially the most environment friendly offense in NBA historical past, per Stathead.

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