In a meeting Monday between Nets leaders, Ben Simmons and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul discussed the physical and mental hurdles that remain in the quest for the All-Star to play again, a discussion that made it clear to participants the need to continue to address the mental side. of that process, sources told ESPN.
Simmons reiterated what he has consistently told team officials since his arrival from the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 10: He wants to play and perform for the Nets as soon as possible and still doesn’t rule out that happening this season if the Nets survive the Monday’s elimination in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics, sources said. Boston leads the best-of-seven series, 3-0.
The Nets made it clear to Simmons and Paul that the organization plans to continue to provide the three-time All-Star with all necessary short-term and long-term resources, sources said. After nearly two weeks of pain-free recovery, the Nets and Simmons believed he was ready to play until Simmons arrived at the team’s practice facility on Sunday and reported back pain. Simmons had been rehabbing a herniated disc in his lower back and had repeatedly expressed his excitement about coming back in this series against the Celtics and perhaps providing something defensively against Boston’s elite wing players. Jayson Tatum Y Jaylene Brown.
The Nets were clearly disappointed Sunday to learn that the 25-year-old Simmons described his physical setback, but Monday’s conversations with Simmons and Paul were described as candid and detailed about the challenges that remain and reaffirming the idea that Simmons is determined to find his way back onto the court, sources said.
Simmons, a three-time All-Star and 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year, has three years and $114 million left on his contract after this season.
While Simmons hadn’t been able to play with the Nets’ starters, there was still some hope that his on-court presence could help a struggling team and allow it to return to an NBA game for the first time this season. .
A disappointing performance in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals as a member of the 76ers set in motion a turbulent 10 months of trade requests, mental health issues and back issues. Simmons came to the Nets with Seth Curry, Andrew Drummond and two future first-round picks in a blockbuster trade on February 10 that sent james harden to the Sixers. Simmons filed a complaint to challenge the nearly $20 million salary the 76ers withheld from him this season.
Philadelphia has repeatedly insisted that Simmons breached his contract under the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association and was entitled to recover money advanced to him before the season. The NBA and NBPA have been at loggerheads on the issue and now arbitration could set a precedent for how future mental health and contract issues could be handled. The 76ers have insisted that Simmons violated his player contract by failing to show up at the start of training camp and refusing to play during the preseason and regular season.
Simmons arrived in Philadelphia near the end of the preseason, but cited his mental health as the reason his participation in team activities was so limited. The 76ers and Simmons disagreed on the degrees of access the team and his doctors gave Simmons to diagnose and affirm his mental health.
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Mental aspect, priority for the return of Simmons