The Ben Simmons journey with the Brooklyn Nets has been an interesting one. For some, it has been an exhausting journey with the back and forth on if he would play and when. The Nets acquired Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers at the February trade deadline. When the deal was made, it was expected that Simmons would be out a week or two for conditioning purposes. However, he would never make his Nets debut, and Brooklyn would be eliminated in their first round matchup against the Boston Celtics.
While Simmons and the Nets teased a return all the way up until game three of their first round matchup against the Celtics, some believe that Brooklyn knew much earlier that Simmons wasn’t healthy enough to play this season. NBA Insider Amin Elhassin shared his take that the Nets knew Simmons wasn’t going to play but didn’t want it to look like they dealt James Harden for damaged goods.
“Again, I think they know that he ain’t coming back,” said Elhassan on a March 23 episode of the “Basketball Illuminati” podcast,“But if you say that he is out for the year, number one you kind of throw cold water on the flame of hope that is your season being a championship one. Second of all, they understand that it will put some more pressure on him. That people will begin to ask if the Nets traded for damaged goods.”
Simmons Return to Nets Next Season
Despite not being able to take the court last season reports have Simmons returning to Brooklyn next season after being fully recovered from his May 4 surgery to address a herniated L-4 disk in his lower back. How the point guard responds to his surgery is key to how he will fit into the Nets future. Brooklyn would certainly prefer that Simmons spends as much time in Brooklyn for his rehab as possible. Staying close to the Nets facilities will allow him to continue to adjust to a new franchise and signify his seriousness in playing for this team.
“We will work together with the Nets on a summer plan,” a source close to Simmons said in Lewis’ story, published May 14. “Everyone is confident.”
That confidence has many believing that Simmons will return and be part of the Nets core of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Simmons making up a big three. Sources close to the Nets confirmed they believe all three will be healthy and together come October.
Nets coach Steve Nash commented on how he sees Simmons fitting into Brooklyn’s gameplan next season.
“I think he plays both [point guard and point forward],” Nash told reporters on May 11. “I think he’s going to handle the ball, initiate offense, particularly in transition. He’s an incredible playmaker, but we have the luxury that Ben can also be a roller, a playmaker out of the pick and roll.”
The Latest on Simmons
So far this season Simmons has been fulfilling Brooklyn’s wishes that he stay close to the organization. He even appears to be going above and beyond what is asked of him and is spending time in the community.
Not only is Simmons visiting schools in the Brooklyn community, but the Nets star also made an appearance with Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, Steve Nash, and Nets general manager Sean Marks. This certainly is an incredible sign for those rooting for Simmons in Brooklyn. He looks to be recovering quite nicely and is committed to being part of the Brooklyn community and Nets franchise. Perhaps this will keep his name out of trade rumors for a bit longer.