INJURY-RAVAGED BEN SIMMONS PROVIDES HEALTH UPDATE AHEAD OF THE NBA SEASON - WITH HIS BROOKLYN NETS FUTURE UNCERTAIN

Brooklyn Nets point guard Ben Simmons' status has been made clear as his future with the organization south of Manhattan remains uncertain. 

The Nets acquired the 27-year-old from Philadelphia at the cost of James Harden behind the inevitable implosion of Brooklyn's Big 3 experiment (with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving). However, for several reasons, the 2016 No 1 pick has only played in 57 games over his three seasons with the team. 

While injuries and reported mental health problems turned Simmons from an All-Star to a memory, his agent Bernard Lee insists that a resurgence will unfold at Barclays Center this season. 

'Ben has been doing his rehab and prep work for the upcoming season in Miami. He is through the rehab stage and has moved on to strength and conditioning,' Lee told The New York Post

'Because there have been so many starts and stops previously I'll simply say he's in a great place and the expectation is he's able to start the season 100 percent of himself ready to go.' 

After suiting up for 15 games last season, Simmons was sidelined by a recurring back injury in March and did not return for the rest of the campaign. 

Simmons averaged 6.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.7 assists while shooting 58.1 per cent from the field. At the end of the season, Brooklyn finished 11th in the Eastern Conference with a dreadful 32-50 record. 

With their lone All-Star struggling to tie a full season together, Brooklyn began rebuilding their roster as Simmons earns $35.45m per season while wearing street clothes on the bench. 

'You can't count on Ben Simmons,' ex-Nets GM Bobby Marks told The Post. 

While young talents such as Cam Thomas and Nic Claxton will remain with the team, Brooklyn recently lost a perennial scorer in Mikal Bridges - who they acquired in the Durant trade - to the neighboring New York Knicks. 

 While Marks suggests the team would focus on the reboot by decreasing Simmons' salary, Lee continued to argue that his client will return to form. 

'An outsider sees uncertainty but someone living it sees opportunity,' Lee said. 'Ben is excited to play basketball healthy. Which isn't something he's been able to do since he's been in Brooklyn. 

'So if he shows up to training camp and he's sharing the backcourt with the Brooklyn Knight and Mr. Whammy, he'll figure it out. He's focused on having the best year of his career and if he does I'm pretty sure all of that uncertainty will quickly disappear.'

Another step forward for the Nets was the hiring of head coach Jordi Fernandez from Sacramento. Should Lee's arguments be factual, Fernandez may have his work cut out for him given the flashes of the old Simmons from last season. 

With Simmons on the court, the Nets had a respectable 7-8 record. On the contrary, they were 25-42, with a horrid .373 winning percentage, in his absence. 

As the former LSU star gears up for a return, Lee also acknowledged how the Nets may see a healthy Simmons as a valuable trade piece instead of keeping him in Brooklyn. 

'Ben's done this for a long time now and he's learned to worry about himself and what is in his control. He found out like everyone else did and that's his preference,' Lee said. 'He has a job to do and he's focused on that.' 

'Overall, look … Ben is 27 years old. He'll be 28 in a few weeks. Because of the last few years it sometimes seems easy to forget he's a three-time All-Star, a two-time All-Defensive player and an All-NBA player,' Lee added. 'His ability hasn't changed, he was simply injured. It happens, he's done the work to stop the cycle and seek out the answers and execute the work. 

'The work is his only way out of this and he knows that better than anyone and he'll be coming into the upcoming season as prepared as he's ever been, ready to do his job. We all have eyes, we have all seen in the times he's taken the floor that there is just something different about him, every time he's in the game he immediately has an impact and makes people around him better and now he'll get to do that healthy.' 

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2024-07-10T00:00:39Z dg43tfdfdgfd