Ben Simmons facing mental block in return-to-play process


Sunday’s events triggered frustration and disheartenment throughout the organization, multiple sources said. The fallout of Simmons being ruled out Sunday led to a meeting among franchise officials, Simmons and his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, on Monday in Brooklyn. According to sources, Simmons told those in the room that a mental block exists for him, dating in part to last summer’s postseason, which is creating stress that could serve as a trigger point for his back issues. He added that he does want to play basketball and play for the Nets as he works on solutions in regard to his well-being.
Source: Shams Charania @ The Athletic

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Salman Ali @SalmanAliNBA
It’s hard not to be cynical when reading all this reporting about Ben Simmons and his setbacks, particularly when everyone knows where the information is coming from. – 12:50 PM

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Inside the stalled return of Ben Simmons, and what’s next for him and the Nets – at @TheAthletic: theathletic.com/3273384/2022/0… – 12:42 PM

Sean Deveney @SeanDeveney
Lot of execs/coaches weighed in on the @Brooklyn Nets‘ Ben Simmons in this @HeavySan story by @SteveBulpett.
“He’s been enabled his entire life. … He’s just been left to his own devices to do what the f*** he wants to do.”
heavy.com/sports/brookly… – 9:53 AM

Wes Goldberg @wcgoldberg
Talked about the Nets, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving last night on @KNBR with @dieter
“This is the difference between player potential and player entitlement.” pic.twitter.com/Y4wjhaQH6O8:47 AM

Greg Dickerson @gregdicerson13
Ben Simmons will never play another nba game again. If he’s hurting mentally, I hope he gets his life together – 7:57 AM

Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN
There’s plenty of blame to go around in Brooklyn, but most concerning for the future is Ben Simmons nydailynews.com/sports/basketb… – 11:03 PM

Peter Vecsey @PeterVecsey1
Elon Musk says he won’t rush Ben Simmons back to use Twitter until he feels he’s 100% ready… – 10:56 PM

Steve Bulpett @@SteveBHoop
Posted pre-game:
People who’ve worked with Ben Simmons profoundly un-stunned he missed Game 4 tonight:
“No one’s surprised. I think people were more surprised that they announced he was going to play on Monday than they were that he’s not.”
bit.ly/3rPXkJd – 10:54 PM

Law Murray @LawMurrayTheNU
Nets were the worst defensive rebounding team in the league this season.
So, I mean, Ben Simmons would really help that. FWIW – 10:52 PM

Dave Early @DavidEarly
“We lost a franchise player and we got a franchise player back but we didn’t get a chance to see [Ben Simmons] on the floor. There was no pressure for him to step on the floor with us either. Ben’s good, we have Ben, we have his back he’s gonna be good for next year.”
Kyrie Irving pic.twitter.com/XNkkKWWA5C10:50 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
Steve Nash said he’s love coaching the Nets and everything that’s come with the job and wants to stay. Said Joe Harris and Ben Simmons can help the Nets next season. – 9:53 PM

Christian Winfield @Crisplashed
Steve Nash on his job status and where the Nets are heading into the offseason: “I’ve loved doing this (coaching), loved these guys, loved my staff, really had a great working environment and wanted to continue doing it. I think Ben Simmons and Joe Harris will give us a good lift.” – 9:53 PM

Barbara Barker @meanbarb
Steve Nash says he’s loved doing this job and loves his staff. “I want to continue to do it. I think Ben Simmons and Joe Harris will give us a big lift.” – 9:53 PM

Mike Mazzeo @@MazzNYC
At least Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons will have more time off – 9:37 PM

Tom Lorenzo @TomLorenzo
Trade Kyrie to CLE for Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert and send Ben Simmons to Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell…and let’s just spend the next 6 years being OK with 41 wins and a first round upset. Do it. – 9:35 PM

Alok Pattani @AlokPatani
2021-22 Nets w/ Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving*, James Harden*, Ben Simmons**: 44-38 (7th in East), 15th in Net Rtg, swept in 1st Round
2018-19 Nets w/ 0 players w/ prev All-Star selections: 42-40 (6th in East), 15th in Net Rtg, lost 4-1 in 1st Round
Even w/ the *s, pretty stunning – 9:35 PM

Brian Geltzeiler @BGeltzNBA
Besides Ben Simmons, the guy who really could have helped Brooklyn in this series is James Johnson. They cut him to take Kessler Edwards off a 2 way contract. The Nets lack of size (and speed) on the perimeter has been just dominated by the Celts perimeter size – 8:45 PM

Brian Robb @BrianTRobb
New: Ben Simmons is not sitting on the Nets bench during Game 4 for the first time during this series masslive.com/celtics/2022/0… – 8:19 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Ben Simmons, as has been noted, is not on the #Nets bench for tonight’s elimination Game 4. – 8:13 PM

Ian Begley @IanBegley
Deleted a previous tweet (pictured below) that noted Ben Simmons isn’t sitting on the bench during Game 4 of Nets-Celtics but didn’t include the reason Simmons isn’t on bench. Per a team official, Simmons isn’t sitting on bench tonight due to his back ailment. pic.twitter.com/YnjIiXLsp38:08 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Mental, physical health keeping Ben Simmons from #Nets lineup as both sides meet nypost.com/2022/04/25/men… via @nypostsports8:06 PM

Ian Begley @IanBegley
Ben Simmons isn’t on the Nets bench for Game 4 vs. Boston due to his back ailment, per a team official. Simmons had been sitting on the Nets bench in recent games. Steve Nash said earlier Monday that Simmons would be evaluated by team performance staff. – 8:02 PM

Howard Beck @HowardBeck
As others have noted, Ben Simmons is not on Nets’ bench tonight. I’m told he’s not at the arena, because of his ongoing back issues. – 7:59 PM

Tommy Bear @TommyBeer
Looks like no Ben Simmons on the bench tonight… Safe to assume someone in his camp advised him sitting that his bright outfits while next to the coaching staff was an ugly optic. – 7:38 PM

Christian Winfield @Crisplashed
I just don’t understand how you can have reports suggesting Ben Simmons “reiterated his commitment to playing for the Nets” but he’s nowhere to be found supporting his teammates for Game 4. – 7:36 PM

Christian Winfield @Crisplashed
I don’t see Ben Simmons — whose outfits are usually identifiable — on the Nets’ bench for Game 4. — 7:30 PM

Steve Bulpett @@SteveBHoop
People who’ve worked with Ben Simmons profoundly un-stunned by him missing Game 4 tonight:
“No one’s surprised. I think people were more surprised that they announced he was going to play on Monday than they were that he’s not.”
bit.ly/3rPXkJd – 7:09 PM

Barbara Barker @meanbarb
Wasn’t quick enough to get it but the first photo Nets showed on jumbotron was Ben Simmons in uniform. Oops. pic.twitter.com/W7Rx3kXLU87:02 PM

James Boyd @RomeovilleKid
#Pacers legend Reggie Miller sounded off on #Nets forward Ben Simmons, who was expected to make his season debut tonight against the #Celtics in Game 4 but will remain out due to back soreness.
“This dude has ZERO competitive (fire).” indystar.com/story/sports/n… – 6:58 PM

Ben Golliver @BenGoliver
Nets Coach Steve Nash on Ben Simmons: “I don’t want to overstate my understanding of the situation because I’m not in Ben’s shoes. It’s very important for me to not speak for Ben. I can’t relate to what he’s going through. There is a mental component with everything.” pic.twitter.com/kepJCGwKFi5:59 PM

Dave Early @DavidEarly
Steve Nash on Ben Simmons:
“I don’t want to overstate my understanding….I think Ben has addressed that there is a mental component with what he’s going through. But how much and where he’s at with that is not for me to speak about.”
#NetsWorld pic.twitter.com/OFdTKdSunW5:39 PM

Kurt Helin @basketballtalk
Report: Ben Simmons needs more support with mental health to play for Nets nba.nbcsports.com/2022/04/25/rep… – 5:38 PM

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
ESPN story with the details on the Brooklyn Nets’ meeting today with Ben Simmons and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul: es.pn/37NFijI – 5:37 PM

Michael Scott @MikeAScotto
Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash called Ben Simmons a cornerstone of the franchise and said there is a mental component Simmons is working through, along with his back injury, in his comeback attempt. pic.twitter.com/WIYF6JswNj5:34 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Nash on the mental aspect of what Ben Simmons is going through: “It’s very important for me not to speak for Ben because I cant relate to what he’s going through. There’s a mental component w/ everything. Ben’s addressed there’s a mental component w/ what he’s going through.” – 5:26 PM

Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
Steve Nash on the Ben Simmons situation and whether there is a mental health aspect to his continued absence. pic.twitter.com/jSqr7n6Mth5:25 PM

Vincent Goodwill @VinceGoodwill
Steve Nash on Ben Simmons: “I’m very careful not to speak for Ben. There is a mental component he’s going through…We want to help him in any aspect, he’s a cornerstone.” – 5:24 PM

Dave Early @DavidEarly
Steve Nash says “there is a mental component with everything.” But how much and where Ben Simmons is at with that is not for Nash to speak on. – 5:23 PM

Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet
Ben Simmons and Brooklyn Nets remain committed to working together #NBA
eurohoops.net/en/nba-news/13… – 4:55 PM

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
ESPN Sources: Ben Simmons and CEO of Klutch Sports Rich Paul met with GM Sean Marks and Nets leadership today to discuss how they’ll continue to work through the physical and mental hurdles needed to get Simmons back on the court. – 3:34 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Steve Nash never expected Ben Simmons to play in #Nets‘ do-or-die Game 4 nypost.com/2022/04/25/ben… via @nypostsports2:49 PM

James Boyd @RomeovilleKid
#Pacers legend Reggie Miller blasts Ben Simmons for missing #Nets‘ playoff game indystar.com/story/sports/n… via @indystar1:48 PM

Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria
Now on @njdotcom
NBA Playoffs 2022:
Nets ‘exasperated’ by Ben Simmons saga, Tim Legler says he’s ‘completely lost all credibility’ nj.com/nets/2022/04/n… – 1:46 PM

Sean Highkin @highkin
Thank you to Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea for reminding us of Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons’ contract terms – 1:17 PM

More on this storyline

Simmons had been described as pain-free for the majority of the past month but began to cite soreness in his back on Friday, and a scheduled scrimage was pushed back, multiple sources said. Simmons conducted two full-court scrimmages last week on Monday and Wednesday, in which there was low intensity displayed, those sources said. Throughout Simmons’ rehab, both Durant and Irving, for their part, publicly downplayed their expectations for a Simmons return and said the goal is to get him healthy. -via The Athletic / April 26, 2022

Simmons had another workout on Saturday, after which Nash said Simmons had no issues. On Sunday, Simmons informed the team his back was sore. For Nets players, the confusion was not centered around Simmons’ ailment, but with the perceived lack of attempt to play, effort to be in uniform and push his body in these high-stakes playoffs, sources said. Nets players and coaches wanted to see Simmons show resolve and enter this series to start his on-court Brooklyn tenure, even if it was for limited minutes on Monday or none at all while still dressing for the game. -via The Athletic / April 26, 2022

Nick Friedell: Ben Simmons was not at Barclays for Game 4. The Nets say it is because of the back issues he’s dealing with. -via Twitter @NickFriedell / April 26, 2022





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