By Tommy Matthews
The Brooklyn Nets are just now coming to grips with the fact that Ben Simmons isn’t the easier player to deal with.
Which is one of he reasons the Sixers got rid of him in a Feb. 10 trade for James Harden.
And while Harden is wowing Sixers fans with stellar play in his first three games, Simmons is still working his way back from a back injury, and will likely need until at least the end of next week to start getting in work with his Nets teammates.
Nets general manager Sean Marks says Simmons would do individual work this week. Marks said he hopes Simmons is “getting more into the team environment” by the end of next week.
Therefore, Simmons will not be available when the Nets take on the Sixers at the Wells next Thursday.
So Sixers fans won’t be able to let him know what they think of him and his meltdown in the playoffs last June against the Hawks.
Marks said Simmons doesn’t have a timetable for his return. Once Simmons is able to get in team work, the Nets can ramp up his rehab and get him into game shape. It is unclear how long that will take.
Simmons has yet to take the court for the Nets after being traded to the team in February. Simmons did not appear in a game with the 76ers this season either. He missed time early after feuding with the team during the offseason. Simmons eventually returned to the 76ers, but took time away to deal with his mental health. Simmons also told the team he was dealing with a back issue.
After dealing Harden, the Nets could use Simmons as soon as possible. The team has a 32-31 record and sits in the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference. That’s a disappointment considering the Nets were expected to compete for the top spot in the conference at the beginning of the season.