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Ben Simmons was the subject of an exclusive meeting for Nets players

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Since Ben Simmons arrived in Brooklyn — on the expense of three-time NBA champion James Harden — he has performed poorly or under no circumstances.

His struggles – first to get on the court docket, then to remain or succeed there – have been a evident concern for the Nets since buying him final season. They usually proceed to be, with some within the group privately grumbling much more about his absences and poor play in current weeks than his arrival.

The hope was that not enjoying as a consequence of psychological well being points and again issues (basically taking away a redshirt yr) would assist Simmons get again in form. However after surgical procedure for a herniated disc, he is nonetheless lacking video games not to mention his explosiveness, a 26-year-old three-time All-Star now demoted to return off the bench.

The Nets, who will finish their highway journey in opposition to the Path Blazers on Thursday after shedding streaks, had lots accountable for his or her ill-fated begin. They held a players-only assembly on October 29 after shedding at house to Indiana. Among the many many subjects mentioned and issues conveyed was Simmons.

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“It was sincere. We had a dialog that I am clearly not going to speak about, but it surely was sincere,” Simmons stated on the time. “That is what profitable groups do, maintain one another accountable. Be open and discuss to your teammates and respect that.”

Athletic reported that Markieff Morris has spoken out, saying the Nets want Simmons to succeed and that he has to reply when coping with adversity on the court docket. The report additionally said that Simmons appeared to take the criticism in stride and was receptive and thoughtful all through.

“I do not wish to get into any arguments that occur within the locker room. We hold it to ourselves,” stated Kevin Durant of the report.

On the time, Morris stated, “I do not discuss simply participant conferences. I do not even know why y’all know that. That is one thing that’s between us. That is our factor.” On Wednesday, he categorically denied the story in The Athletic.

“Who’s the supply? You guys want to sit back with these pretend tales, man!” Morris tweeted. “Let me and my guys play!”

Exactly who spoke on the assembly and precisely what they stated could also be extra of a micro concern. The macro subject is Simmons, each for his poor play (averages of 5.8 factors, 6.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 26.6 minutes, all profession lows) and for a similar issues about his ardour that the pursued in Philadelphia.

Simmons has been enjoying by way of ache. His again has nerve injury that he estimates will take 18 months to heal. That introduced on a swollen knee that has already value him 5 video games, drained and, he informed The Athletic, required PRP injections.

And none of that even considers your psyche.

Simmons, who has seen a therapist up to now, is within the third season of a five-year, $177 million contract. Durant has already requested a commerce as soon as and Kyrie Irving can be a free agent, so Simmons can outlast each of them in Brooklyn, so getting him and maintaining him in the correct area is essential.

“An enormous a part of it’s the group nonetheless having confidence in him — which we do — after which placing him in positions to succeed,” stated head coach Jacque Vaughn, who moved Simmons from start line guard to backup middle. “Defensively, do what you do. And that begins with enjoying laborious to get. … However our ongoing conversations to attempt to make him really feel snug as a basketball participant, that is my problem.

Sarcastically, it was in Tuesday’s 153-121 humiliation in Sacramento that Simmons had his first remotely promising recreation of the season. His 11 factors have been essentially the most he is scored since June 14, 2021. He went 5-of-7 – throwing a lob – took 5 boards and dished out three assists.

“I imply, that is what we might count on from him, nothing shocking,” Durant stated with a shrug. “When you’re on the market and enjoying, I assume you are bodily fantastic. He made some good drives [Tuesday]however that is what we count on from him.”

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