NBA rumors: Ben Simmons, Nets front office meet about future in Brooklyn

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Simmons, Nets brass meet about future as he misses Game 4 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Ben Simmons was scheduled to at least attempt to play basketball on Monday night in Game 4 of the Nets' first round series vs. the Celtics.

Instead, Simmons will once again be sitting on the bench as he continues to work through a back injury.

And according to new reporting Monday from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons is also once again dealing with the mental problems similar to when he was still a member of the Sixers.

MORE: Here's why Simmons won't play vs. Celtics in Game 4

Simmons and his agent Rich Paul met with the Nets' front office Monday, according to Woj, in an attempt to figure out what exactly the next steps - and right steps - are for both sides.

Here's what Woj heard about the meetings from sources close to the situation:

"Rich Paul [...] met, along with Ben Simmons, with Sean Marks, the Nets' GM, and their leadership in Brooklyn today to talk through what they all needed to do together to continue to work on a plan to get Ben Simmons back on the court in Brooklyn. What came out of that meeting, very clearly to both sides, was: as much as the physical return for Ben Simmons is still the mental return. The sense very much today was he needed more support, he needed more help, to get there. 

"Listen, Brooklyn believes they've seen Ben Simmons put in the work in both those areas, both physical and mental, since he got to the Nets in their trade. They saw him ramp up the last couple weeks until Sunday, when they thought that he was going to be on the cusp of playing Monday night in Brooklyn. That'd been Ben Simmons' plan, to play [Monday], and the Nets' plan with him. 

"Their understanding right now is, it's going to require not just more work on the lower back but there is still a mental health part in this equation that the Nets, Rich Paul and Ben Simmons have to continue to work through together."

Jeez. Is Simmons ever going to play basketball again?

I certainly don't want to make light of mental health issues, because they're serious and they affect people in different ways. If Simmons isn't mentally ready to play, he isn't mentally ready to play.

READ: Embiid fined for criticizing refs following Sixers' Game 4 loss

But this has to be a gut punch for the Nets, who believed they were trading for a player in Simmons who simply wanted out of Philly, not out of playing basketball altogether.

Does this all stem from his woeful series vs. the Hawks and the passed-up dunk in Game 7 vs. Trae Young? Simmons himself said he'd dealt with mental problems and blockages before that series, and even before the playoffs. You'd have to imagine that series exacerbated the problems, but this seems to be something Simmons has been dealing with for a while.

We'll see where things lead, but Simmons has three years left on his contract and suddenly doesn't seem anywhere near returning to the court - which has to be extremely concerning for the Nets.