The Ben Simmons Era In Brooklyn Is Over

Ben Simmons Era Photo by Joeglo License by CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 11. Apr 2024.

The Nets were fleeced in the trade that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons is unmotivated, unhealthy, or both. It's time for the franchise to move on without the injury-prone point guard.

Brooklyn shut down the 27-year-old Australian last week due to lingering back issues, and the Nets announced that Simmons successfully underwent a microscopic partial discectomy to relieve the nerve impingement in his lower back. The procedure was similar to the operation that Simmons had after the 2021-22 season to remove a small fragment of a herniated disc.

Mixed Reactions and Future Prospects

Interim head coach Kevin Ollie refused to discuss Simmons' current condition but wished the beleaguered superstar well.

"I know he has a lot of emotions that's inside of him. But he's been down this road before and I know he's going to get prepared with his team, our medical staff, our organization. And we have empathy for him," said Ollie.

"I'm not going to speculate on that (surgery). I just pray he can come back healthy whatever God has for him and his rehab and him getting better. I want him to have faith that he can come back and be the Ben Simmons we know he can be."

"This was an entirely different procedure in both scale and location," Simmons' agent Bernard Lee told The New York Post. "His previous issues continue to be independent events."

Lee was also confident that not only would Simmons be able to work on his game during the summer, but he would be ready for the start of training camp in late September.

"I would like to get out of the speculation game and just focus on the task at hand," Lee said. "But this was chosen as a course of action as it is believed to be a permanent fix that will allow Ben to get out of the cycle he's been in and continue his career on a permanent basis at the highest level.

"The expectation is he is available for camp and is able to train all summer regularly to be ready for the upcoming season."

Ongoing Challenges and Support

The inability of Simmons to stay healthy has been a recurring theme for Brooklyn fans over the previous two seasons. The 6-foot-10 point guard has not seen action since Feb. 26 - and has played in just 57 out of a possible 192 regular-season games since being acquired by the Nets. Still, Lee is happy that local fans had not lost hope in Simmons.

"Brooklyn has been and continues to be incredibly supportive of Ben," Lee said. "Ben since the day he got traded to Brooklyn he has worked diligently to continue his career in Brooklyn and fulfill the expectations that come from his previous accomplishments; and the procedure he had recently was for that exact reason. He can and will move on from this and he can and will advance from this."

NBA Community's Perspective

NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal was critical of Simmons on a recent installment of his show, "The Big Podcast with Shaq."

"Who are the NBA players that you would legitimately buy a ticket for to go watch because you find them entertaining," co-host Adam Lefkoe asked to which O'Neal said, "Ben Simmons."

"Because I would want to learn how you can make $80 million and play 55 games. Teach me. Teach me how you could play 55 games in three seasons and get $30 million, $40 million and get another $40 million just by saying your back hurt,” O’Neal said. Get some f–king Icy Hot. Man up."

Simmons played in 15 games this season and averaged 6.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He suited up for just 42 games during the 2022-23 before getting shut down due to a nerve impingement in his lower back. 

Teammates' Hope for Recovery

Although the former All-Star has become the butt of jokes for earning $86 million for two-plus seasons of inactivity with the Nets, teammate Mikal Bridges is hoping for a quick recovery, especially as he worked as a key player towards the Nets’ potential success in the Play-In Tournament. Unfortunately the Nets were knocked out earlier this month.

"I hope his mental is fine," Bridges said. "I just know getting hurt isn't fun at all. It gets with you mentally, so hope he's just all right and just hope (for a) speedy recovery.

"It's tough. You don't wish that on nobody. So just hope he's good up top in his head. I know it's tough wanting to be out there and working to get back and then being out, so hopefully he's all right."

"To not be able to compete and play and to have to sit and watch games, it sucks," Nic Claxton said. "So you feel for him. (But) the show doesn't stop."

Resilience on and off the Court: Betting on a Comeback

The Ben Simmons era in Brooklyn, characterized by unfulfilled potential and recurring injuries, prompts reflection on the unpredictability of sports careers. Amidst this journey, Simmons garners support from teammates and fans, showcasing the community spirit in adversity. As he aims for a comeback, the narrative extends beyond the court, embodying resilience and hope. 

For enthusiasts and bettors alike, this saga adds intrigue to the NBA landscape, with the best NBA sportsbooks offering avenues to engage with the unfolding drama, betting on outcomes and supporting the resilience of players like Simmons.

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