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It was an awful season to be Ben Simmons. It may have been even worse for the NBA teams that employed Ben Simmons.
As you’re likely aware, the former All-Star guard/forward of the Philadelphia 76ers sat out and pouted his way into a trade. He then landed with the Brooklyn Nets as part of the James Harden deal in February.
Only Simmons didn’t play there either, mainly because of an issue with his lower back.
But it was another strange end to the season. Simmons had ramped up his workouts and practice time and suggested he’d make his season debut in Game 4 of the Nets’ playoff series versus the Boston Celtics, only to remain on the bench.
So, Simmons sat out, and the Nets got swept, giving sports pundits a lot to criticize.
And criticize, they did.
First, former NBA star Reggie Miller ripped Simmons for backing out at the last minute, as relayed by our Alejandro Avila.
Now, rival executives and scouts are taking shots at Simmons, according to a report from veteran NBA writer Steve Bulpett, now of Heavy.com.
“He’s been enabled his entire life. He’s very aloof,” a source close to the Simmons situation told Bulpett. “He’s a great player, but it’s all the extra stuff that no one’s held him accountable for that’s just made it difficult. He’s just been left to his own devices to do what the f*** he wants to do.”
Bulpett also quoted another NBA source who shared similar views.
“No one’s surprised,” the source said of Simmons’ decision not to play in the series against the Celtics. “I think people were more surprised that they announced he was going to play on Monday (in Game 4) than they were that he’s not.
“So, like, two more days were going to make a difference? I don’t get it. I do not get it. If you’re going to play on Monday, then why don’t you play on Saturday (for Game 3)?”
In the event that wasn’t enough, Simmons and agent Rich Paul reportedly met with Nets GM Sean Marks ahead of Game 4 to devise a plan to get Simmons back on the court.
It must not have been a very good one.
“When’s he going to play then, next year? Is he going to play in summer league? When’s he going to play? He’s got to play,” a rival exec told Bulpett. “Nobody wants to admit it, but it’s only getting worse. He hasn’t put a uniform on.”