Before the Brooklyn Nets’ season came to an end, there was an expectation that Ben Simmons would suit up and play for the team.
Ultimately, that never happened and the Nets failed to win a game in the playoffs as they were swept by the Boston Celtics.
After that, a lot of things happened, all culminating in a Kevin Durant trade request to close out the month of June. Fast forward to August and we’re still waiting to see what happens out of all that.
NBA insider Ric Bucher reveals the trouble could have started with Durant before the season even ended, and it stems from midseason addition Ben Simmons.
Simmons came over in the James Harden deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he never played a game with the Nets. Bucher reports that he rubbed teammates the wrong way, including Durant, just before Game 4 against the Celtics.
Simmons Left the Chat
After the Nets went down 0-3, the writing was pretty much on the wall, but they still wanted to see if adding Ben Simmons back would make a difference.
When asked in a team group chat about whether he’ll be available for Game 4, Simmons left the chat according to Bucher.
“They’re having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he’s going to play against the Boston Celtics,” he said on FS1’s ‘The Herd.’ “From what I’m told, they asked him if he was gonna play, Ben left the chat. They asked him ‘Are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. Like he didn’t even answer the question, just left the chat. And [Kevin Durant’s] like ‘This is what I signed up for? This is who I’m playing with?'”
This isn’t the first time reports have indicated there were issues with Ben Simmons not playing, so it’s not like this is something totally out of the blue.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in April that teammates would questioning whether the Nets point guard even wanted to play.
“For Nets players, the confusion was not centered around Simmons’ ailment, but with the perceived lack of attempt to play, effort to be in uniform and push his body in these high-stakes playoffs, sources said,” Charania wrote. “Nets players and coaches wanted to see Simmons show resolve and enter this series to start his on-court Brooklyn tenure, even if it was for limited minutes on Monday or none at all while still dressing for the game.”
Simmons Seems to be Staying
If there were problems with Simmons, the team will certainly have to find a way to over them because it looks like he’ll still be on the team next season.
The New York Post’s Brian Lewis reported in July that he’s unlikely to be moved.
“When asked if Simmons had gotten assurances he was in the Nets’ long-term plans and would not be traded, a source close to the young All-Star told The Post simply that ‘Ben is good,” Lewis wrote.
After all the turmoil the Nets have gone through this offseason, the next season could very well begin with Kyrie Irving, Durant and Simmons all in the starting lineup together.