The Nets are sliding fast in the East — and their big midseason acquisition is still missing in action.
Ben Simmons refused to play in Philadelphia, citing mental health matters. Now, he’s out with a herniated disc — and though he received an epidural, coach Steve Nash deemed him out for the rest of the regular season and play-in games on April 12.
Big Ben still hasn’t played for Brooklyn since being traded for James Harden. And while he tries to recoup some of the money he lost in Philly, time is running out for the Nets to get any return on investment with him this season.
- Simmons filed a grievance this weekend to get the $20M the 76ers withheld for skipped games.
- The Sixers had been withholding nearly $1.3 million in each of his paychecks, per ESPN.
- The former No. 1 overall pick signed a five-year, $170M maximum contract in 2019 and is the third-highest-paid Net ($33M).
It’s the latest blow in a dismal season for the 10-seed Nets, who blew up their Big Three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden after being title favorites (+245) as late as January — and yet somehow still retain the third-best odds (+600).
Despite having the NBA’s second-highest payroll ($174.5M), a series of injuries (Durant), COVID restrictions (Irving), and a disgruntled star (Harden) have relegated the Nets to a play-in game no matter how they close out their final four contests.
Meanwhile, Simmons will go through an arbitration process with the league — one that could change how the NBA addresses mental health with players on large contracts.