Ben Simmons has yet to play a game for the Brooklyn Nets since arriving at the trade deadline earlier this year, but the team tried to get him on the floor during the playoffs.
Simmons had returned to practice and was cleared for contact, but never did suit up with his teammates, and wasn’t even at courtside for the decisive Game 4 against the Boston Celtics in April.
During an appearance on FS1, NBA insider Ric Bucher shared a wild story from the end of the Nets’ season and said that Simmons ghosted his teammates and left a players-only group chat when asked if he’d play with Brooklyn facing a 3-0 deficit.
“They’re having a team chat before Game 4 thinking he’s going to play against the Boston Celtics and from what I’m told, Ben just left the chat,” Bucher said on The Herd. “They asked him ‘are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. He didn’t even answer the question and KD (Kevin Durant) was like ‘this is who I’m playing with?'”
Simmons jumped on Twitter and fired back at that report:
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday that the rumors that Ben Simmons left the Brooklyn Nets group chat were not true.
Simmons has yet to play for the Nets after joining the team as part of the James Harden trade because he reportedly injured his back during winter conditioning.
The Celtics went on to sweep the Nets, and Simmons officially went the entire season without playing a single game.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, it’s unclear if all three will ever play a game together.
At the very least, that potential Nets debut seems to be on the right track.
“He is doing more on the floor, he’s looking good,” Shams told McAfee on Tuesday. “I think the Nets have high, high expectations for Simmons next year. … He’s supposed to be ready for training camp, here in a month-and-a-half. He’s doing more and more on the court, I’m told.”