One year after his blockbuster trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons may have hit a career dead-end in Brooklyn.
Simmons has not suited up for the Nets since February while dealing with a series of injuries, and Brooklyn head coach Jacques Vaughn gave an update that gives no indication of when he might set foot on the court again.
“Simmons hasn’t had any setbacks and that he was on the court. Vaughn did not specify the setup,” tweeted Sharif Phillips-Keaton, Nets reporter for USA Today’s Nets Wire. “Vaughn says that Simmons is progressing, but that there isn’t a timetable for Simmons’ return.”
Sixers beat writer Ky Carlin believes that is an ominous sign for Simmons’ future in Brooklyn.
“He will never play another game for the Nets,” Carlin tweeted.
Murky Future for Ben Simmons in Brooklyn
Simmons came to the Nets in a blockbuster trade with the Sixers last year, arriving in Brooklyn with the hope of creating a formidable Eastern Conference contender. The move paired Simmons with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but the trio didn’t last a full season together as the Nets shipped out Irving and Durant ahead of this year’s trade deadline.
The Nets have been able to hold steady in the Eastern Conference since the departures of Durant and Irving, remaining in sixth place and just outside the play-in tournament bracket, but it is unclear whether Simmons will play again this season — or ever again.
Simmons has seen a sharp decline in his production this season as well. He is averaging career lows in points (6.9), rebounds (6.3), assists (6.1) and minutes per game (26.3).
Others have joined Carlin in predicting the Nets are done with Simmons. Former NBA player turned analyst Kendrick Perkins believes that Simmons may not have a future in Brooklyn or any other team.
“Yep, it’s officially time for the Nets to move on from Ben Simmons,” Perkins tweeted on March 3.
“And [to be honest] he’s walking a fine line right now because I don’t many organizations that are willing to be patient with him! Especially with the type of lettuce he’s making. Real Talk!”
There are other ominous signs for Simmons’ future. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Simmons parted ways with Klutch Sports, the agency that has represented him since he joined the league as a No. 1 overall pick in 2016 and negotiated his five-year, $177-million contract extension in 2019.
Challenges in Moving on From Ben Simmons
It may not be easy for the Nets to move on from Simmons, however. Perkins noted that no other team may be willing to take on the risk given his extended absences and declining play. Brett Siegel of SI.com’s Fastbreak also pointed out that Simmons has a contract that makes him very difficult to move.
“Entering the offseason, Simmons will still have two years left on his current deal and he is set to make over $78 million through the 2024-25 season,” Siegel reported. “His contract is one of the most unfavorable deals in the league right now and there is little to no interest around the NBA in him, as the Nets would likely have to attach assets to any offseason trade to unload Simmons’ contract.”