The NBA world was shocked in February when the Philadelphia 76ers decided to trade Ben Simmons, along with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, in a blockbuster trade for star guard James Harden.
Simmons has been dealing with a sore back while ramping up for his Brooklyn debut. The mercurial guard has not played in a game yet this season as he had some notable issues with the 76ers organization which ultimately led to the trade.
While an exact return date for Simmons has not been announced, there are some encouraging reports that the three-time All-Star could make his debut in the coming weeks. NBA Insider Shams Charania reported on Monday that Simmons will not play in Brooklyn’s game on Thursday against his former team, but he will make the trip to Philadelphia and be on the bench.
There is also reportedly optimism around the team that Simmons could make his return to action later this month.
Ben Simmons will not play in Thursday’s Nets-76ers – but is expected to make the return trip to Philadelphia and join team on bench inside Wells Fargo Center, sources say. More: pic.twitter.com/3orGREnaX8
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 7, 2022
Many NBA people noted that this would not only be Simmons’ first time on the bench for his new team but would mark his first appearance in front of Philadelphia fans since the drama that led to his departure. They expect the environment for Simmons to be very hostile considering how things ended between him and the 76ers.
Ben Simmons not playing but will be on the bench vs. the Sixers on March 10th? Yeah…not happening. Zero chance Ben Simmons ever steps foot in Philly again. Zilch. None. Sorry, Shams.
Source: Reality. https://t.co/vwZ4Ri5S1K
— Smitty (@SmittyBarstool) March 7, 2022
I’ve got a good idea – let’s take someone who is dealing with a very public mental health battle & put them in the middle of the most toxic environment imaginable. Being boo’d for a couple hours straight can only help him towards his recovery! Genius, really. See you Thursday! https://t.co/FGIC2HuD5v
— Josh Reynolds (@JoshReynolds24) March 7, 2022
Philadelphia will put him in a 3 hour torture chamber. This is somehow worse than him actually playing. https://t.co/3767dQFjKA
— bfarren (@bfarren13) March 7, 2022
Hope for his sake he wears earplugs. https://t.co/nTVDALAa13
— Kei (@RealMamaEagle) March 7, 2022
This would be a huge addition to the team if they can get Simmons back before the playoffs. While he has been heavily criticized for the lack of scoring in his game, his ability as a defender and ball handler can not be questioned.
Simmons has been on the All-Defensive team twice in his career, and with scorers like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for the Nets, he won’t be asked to carry much of the scoring load for the team, making it an ideal fit on paper.