Sunday, October 2, 2022

Ben Simmons issues NSFW message to Sixers fans amid looming Nets debut

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The Brooklyn Nets acquired all-star forward Ben Simmons in a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers last February. However, he never made his Nets debut due to a herniated disc in his back that required surgery in May.

As Simmons prepares to make his Brooklyn debut next month, he reflects on his time with the 76ers on the latest episode of The Old Man & The Three podcast with former Sixers guard JJ Redick. Especially about how it’s like dealing with the people and media in Philadelphia.

“People in Philly want to have something to say, f——, anything, man…literally anything.” said Simmons to Redick. “Post a picture of an af—— car, a dog, I’ve got reporters saying you should be at an af—— gym.”

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The split between the Nets star and his former team began after a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 playoffs. Simmons missed a near-open layup with a much smaller Trae Young who caught him on a crucial possession in the 4th quarter defended, which ultimately decided the game and eliminated them from the playoffs.

Though Simmons reported to training camp the following fall, it was clear the relationship between him and the Sixers was beyond repair, especially afterward apparently called by Sixers star Joel Embiid after losing Game 7.

The way Simmons managed his exit left a sour taste in the mouths of Sixers fans. But despite what turned out, the Nets star says he will always be a part of Philadelphia.

“I had a great time. The fans are incredible. I still have an apartment there, so I still own some real estate in Philadelphia. … I feel like I’m still a part of Philly.” said Simmons to Redick.

“I cherish the time I spent in Philly because … and I made lifelong friends there. I have my brother living there like I have family there. … I think people think that … I think I hate it.”

The winner of Harden’s blockbuster trade, Simmons has yet to be decided as the three-time All-Star is yet to take the floor for the Nets. But after Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs last year and the Sixers advanced to the second round, Philadelphia has a clear lead.

That means Simmons will be under immense pressure when he finally makes his debut for the Nets this fall. Not just from Nets fans, but from fans in the NBA as well.

Simmons adds a dynamic to the Brooklyn roster they didn’t have with Harden as he is an elite defender. The last season he played, he was a finalist for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

But the reality is that it’s been more than 15 months since Simmons has seen any NBA action, and no one knows the version of him who will be speaking out for the Nets this season. If he’s still the same player he was when he last came on the court in 2021, the Nets could pose a real threat in the Eastern Conference.



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