Blake Griffin Believes The Nets ‘Got Better’ Trading James Harden For Ben Simmons

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With less than two hours remaining until the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a swap that sent James Harden to Philadelphia and Ben Simmons to Brooklyn. In an interesting bit of timing, Kevin Durant was captured on television shortly after the trade as part of the NBA All-Star Draft, indicating he was “excited for (his) team” and also saying “I think everybody got what they wanted” in the deal. It appears as if Durant was not alone among Nets players in sharing an upbeat outlook and relief that the entire saga was over, as Blake Griffin had a couple of interesting comments following Brooklyn’s road loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday.

Prompted about Durant’s comments, Griffin backed up his teammate and trumpeted the notion that the Nets want players “that want to be here.”

Griffin didn’t say explicitly that Harden didn’t want to be in Brooklyn, but he and Durant both strongly hinted at there being a recognition within the locker room that Harden wasn’t exactly happy with his situation. Still, within the same media availability, Griffin stated plainly that he believes the Nets “got better” in the deal to acquire Simmons (and Seth Curry and Andre Drummond) in Harden’s place.

Of course, the jury is out on whether Brooklyn actually improved in the deal. Even if Simmons can quickly recapture his All-Star form, the Nets do lose some offensive firepower, and that is particularly true for as long as Kyrie Irving is limited to part-time duty. Simmons could also unlock other features of Brooklyn’s roster and, through a positive lens, the optimized version of Simmons could be a superior fit alongside Durant and Irving.

At the same time, it seems as if the team’s vibes are improving in the aftermath. The Nets did lose their tenth (!) straight game on Thursday but, with Durant potentially returning after the All-Star break and Simmons on the way to, eventually, add a different element of versatility and defense, optimism could reign in Brooklyn.