Ben Simmons to join Nets on bench in first return to Philadelphia after trade

Ben Simmons isn’t ready to make his debut with the Brooklyn Nets just yet while he’s dealing with a lingering back injury.

He will, though, be with the team when they take on his former team on Thursday.

Simmons, Nets coach Steve Nash said on Tuesday, will join the team in Philadelphia on Wednesday and then sit on the bench with them on Thursday night.

“It’s great. He’s on our team, he needs to be with his teammates and get the whole Philly thing out of the way a little bit,” Nash said, via ESPN. “Maybe it never goes away, but the first time it’s always nice to kind of deal with it and move on … I hope he enjoys it. It’s a part of the game I miss.”

Ben Simmons expected to file grievance against 76ers

Though things seem to be going much better for Simmons after the blockbuster trade that sent him to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden, he’s apparently gearing up for a legal battle with the 76ers.

Simmons, according to the Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck, is expected to file a formal grievance against the 76ers in the coming days. That grievance has been long expected, considering the money Simmons lost during his tumultuous ending in Philadelphia. The timing of it, however, comes as he’s making his first return to the city — which should make Thursday’s game even more contentious.

Simmons first requested a trade out of Philadelphia last offseason, and then sat out for months despite constant fines from the organization. The 76ers reportedly fined him more than $360,000 per game he missed, which resulted in millions in fines. They also withheld a quarter of his $33 million salary.

Simmons took a lot of heat from people during his absence, and eventually told the team that “he’s not mentally ready to play.”

Once he landed in Brooklyn, Simmons said he has had “some dark times over these last six months.

“It was a bunch of things I was dealing with as a person in my personal life that I don’t really want to go into depth with,” he said. “But I’m here now. It’s a blessing to be in an organization like this.”

It’s still unclear what Simmons’ grievance will look like, and what allegations he will make in it. According to Neubeck, the “early indication is that the Sixers are in a much stronger position” than Simmons is.

Either way, Simmons’ battle with Philadelphia doesn’t seem like it ended when the trade went down.

Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets
Ben Simmons' grievance against the 76ers is expected to be filed in the coming days. (Adam Hunger/Getty Images)