Following the meeting with the Brooklyn Nets, mental health remains the focus of Ben Simmons’ return, sources say

In a meeting with Brooklyn Net’s management Monday afternoon, Ben Simmons and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul talked about the physical and mental obstacles left in the All-Stars’ quest to return to the game, a discussion that made it clear to attendees a need to continue addressing the mental side of the process, sources told ESPN.

Simmons reiterated what he has consistently told the team officials since his arrival from the Philadelphia 76ers on February 10: He wants to play and perform for the Nets as soon as possible, and he still does not rule out that it will happen this season if the Nets should survive Monday’s elimination game against the Boston Celtics, sources said. Boston leads the best of the series seven with 3-0.

The Nets made it clear to Simmons and Paul that the organization plans to continue to provide the triple All-Star with all the necessary resources in the short and long term, sources said.

After nearly two weeks of pain-free ramp-up, Nets and Simmons thought he was on the verge of playing until Simmons arrived at the team’s training facility on Sunday and reported a return of back pain. Simmons had rehabilitated a lumbar disc herniation and had repeatedly expressed his eagerness to return in this series against the Celtics and perhaps provide a defense to Boston’s elite wingers, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Nets was clearly disappointed on Sunday to hear about Simmons, 25, describing his physical setback, but talks on Monday with Simmons and Paul were described as honest and detailed about the challenges that remain and confirm the idea that Simmons is determined on finding his way back to court, sources said.

Simmons, a triple All-Star and 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year, has three years and $ 114 million left on his contract after this season.

Although Simmons had not been able to tumble with the Nets starters, there was still some hope that his presence on the field could provide some help to a flabby team – and allow him to return to an NBA game. for the first time this season.

An overwhelming performance in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers set in motion turbulent 10 months of trade requests, mental health issues and back problems. The Simmons arrived with the Nets with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future selections in the first round in a huge success on February 10, sending James Harden to the 76ers. Simmons filed a lawsuit to challenge the nearly $ 20 million in salary that the 76ers withheld from him this season.

Philadelphia has repeatedly insisted that Simmons breached his contract under the collective agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association and was entitled to the money he had received back before the season. The NBA and NBPA have disagreed on the issue, and now arbitration can set a precedent for how future issues of mental health and contracts can be handled. The 76ers have insisted that Simmons has broken his player contract as he did not show up for the start of training camp and refused to play in the preseason and regular season.

Simmons arrived in Philadelphia near the end of the preseason, but mentioned his mental health for the reason that his participation in team activities was so limited. The 76ers and Simmons disagreed on the degree of access that the team and its doctors were assigned to Simmons to diagnose and confirm his mental health.

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