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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Ben Simmons pulled bad teammate move on Nets last season?

Ben Simmons with a shirt on

Jan 30, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) talks to fans before a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Even on a new team, Ben Simmons continues to be about as reliable as one-ply toilet paper.

During a recent appearance on FS1’s “The Herd,” longtime NBA reporter Ric Bucher claimed that Simmons pulled a bad teammate move on the Brooklyn Nets in the middle of the playoffs last season. Bucher said that Simmons left the Nets players’ text message group chat when asked if he would be playing in Brooklyn’s elimination game against the Boston Celtics in the first round.

“They’re having a team chat before Game 4, thinking [Simmons is] going to play against the Boston Celtics,” said Bucher. “From what I’m told, Ben just left the chat. They asked him, ‘Are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. Like, he didn’t even answer the question, just left the chat. And [Kevin Durant] is like, ‘This is what I signed up for? This is who I’m playing with?’”

The ex-All-Star Simmons, who was acquired by the Nets a few months prior, was universally expected to make his season debut for the team in the Game 4 against Boston (with Brooklyn trailing the series 3-0). But on the morning of the contest, Simmons told the team that he awoke with back soreness and would be unable to play. That led to widespread condemnation of Simmons and further questions about his drive and mentality. The Nets would also lose the game and be eliminated.

With nearly $114 million remaining on his contract over the next three years, Simmons is beyond a negative asset at this point, especially with anecdotes like the one Bucher shared. But the good news is that at least some Nets teammates still seem to have faith in the 26-year-old.

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