Brooklyn Nets brass were reportedly willing to offer up star point guard Kyrie Irving in a potential trade involving the 76ers' Ben Simmons.
But a deal never came to fruition because Nets star Kevin Durant wouldn't allow it, Stephen A. Smith reported on First Take on Wednesday.
Smith suggested Nets general manager Sean Marks was "interested" in swapping Irving for Simmons, though apparently an offer was never made on account of Durant.
"Kyrie could have ended up in Philly," Smith told co-host Kendrick Perkins. "Sean Marks couldn't do that because KD wasn't having it. KD wasn't having it. KD was like, 'Kyrie ain't going no damn place.'
"Let me tell you something right now. Philadelphia might have said no, but I assure you, if it weren't for Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets would be interested in making that deal."
Smith's scoop comes only days after a report indicated Irving had "made it known" that he would not accept a trade from the Nets, and instead would retire. The report didn't refer to any specific prospective trades that might have involved Irving.
Taken together, it would seem to suggest there's at least a faction within the Nets that is willing to move on from Irving. Durant and Irving were widely reported to have been signed as a package deal, though, so it's perhaps not surprising that Durant would overrule a move to split up their apparent partnership.
The Sixers meanwhile are in an awkward position with Simmons, who has reportedly informed the team that he's played his last game for them, apparently over a falling out with head coach Doc Rivers. Reports have suggested the Sixers maintain a relatively high asking price for Simmons, and have been unable to find a suitable trade.
Irving for Simmons would be an epic blockbuster between conference rivals, but it appears unlikely.