The Brooklyn Nets held a players-only meeting on Oct. 29 to discuss point guard Ben Simmons’ performance this season, according to sources with direct knowledge of those meetings but not authorized to speak. Athletic. What you need to know:
- After the loss to the Indiana Pacers, they stuck with Simmons.
- Veteran forward Markieff Morris spoke to the team about how they need Simmons to be successful and how he must respond when faced with adversity on the field.
- Simmons was receptive to Morris’ words and was responsive and attentive throughout, the source said.
The Nets have dealt with months of turmoil, including a coaching change and an ongoing off-court dispute with star guard Kyrie Irving, by suspending him indefinitely, which has now reached seven games.
On November 1, Brooklyn parted ways with coach Steve Nash after a 2-5 start to the season. Nets named assistant Jack Vaughn as interim head coach Athletic The franchise is reportedly looking to hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka. Brooklyn’s plan to hire Udoka drew criticism, and Boston fired the coach in September 2022-23 for having an affair with a female member of the Celtics organization. Athletic reported.
The Nets reversed plans to hire Udoka and named Vaughn as head coach on November 9.
On the court, the Nets failed to deliver a 6-9 record. Simmons returned from back surgery in May to play earlier this season, but recently missed eight days with fluid in his left knee.
After beginning the season as the starting quarterback, Simmons played the last four games at center. It was his first time on the bench in seven seasons in the NBA. He missed Sunday’s loss to the Lakers, and the team attributed his absence to left knee pain.
The first stretch this season was the latest setback for Simmons in two years plagued by injuries and health issues.
What Simmons is saying
In a discussion with AthleticSimmons acknowledged the criticism he knows is coming his way.
“Obviously you’re happy when somebody gets out,” Simmons said. “But for me, since the start of the season, I’ve been struggling with a knee problem. It is swollen. I had PRP (injections). I have drawn blood several times. So it’s not made up, is it? This is a real thing.
“I understand (doubt), but one thing about me is that I’m a competitor. I want to win and play. So I’m going to do whatever I can to get out there.”
(Photo: Wendell Cruz/USA Today)