Ben Simmons has been with the Brooklyn Nets for just over a calendar year after he was sent out of Philadelphia last season at the trade deadline.
Simmons originally requested a trade in August 2021 and later found himself embroiled in a matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons last played for the Sixers in June 2021 and later said he didn’t suit up in recent months in Philadelphia because he was taking time to focus on his mental health and recovering from a back injury.
During an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic’s «The John Kincade Show,» Simmons’ former teammate opened up about his departure.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
Niang was asked how Philadelphia’s 2021-22 roster compares to the current roster.
«Well, Ben Simmons put us at a disadvantage early last year,» Niang said. «I wasn’t going to say it, but you know what I mean… When you look at roster building, like I’m talking from a GM point of view. I don’t know how much he makes, but it’s a max contract.
«Then you immediately take that off the books. ‘I’m not playing.’ Now you have to figure out where other players need to step up and replace passing, dribbling, rebounding and defending.»
76ERS’ JAMES HARDEN SENDS GENEROUS GIFTS, FACETIMES MSU STUDENT PARALYZED ON SHOOTING: ‘I’M WITH YOU’
He added that last year’s situation left some players with an «uneasy feeling.»
«I think people don’t understand, the team aspect is very important,» Niang added. «Believe [Sixers head coach] Doc Rivers does a good job of buying into the team. So when you don’t know who you’re going to have night after night with, will he come back? He is this?
«I feel like the updates we were getting on him were like when I turned on my TV, I was listening to Stephen A. Smith, and he said he was going to be at practice tomorrow. And I was like, ‘Well, there it is.’ And so last year it was hard because you didn’t know who you had. So, the trade deadline comes up and everyone goes in like, ‘Well, who’s attached to him? Is that going away?’ So it was like you got that uncomfortable feeling.»
Simmons’ resistance came on the heels of his disappointing performance in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. Throughout the series, he was unable to consistently shoot the basketball and received criticism for his decision to pass rather than try. an open dunk.
CHARLES BARKLEY, GAYLE KING AND POSSIBLY TEAM UP FOR PRIMETIME NEWS SHOW: REPORT
Simmons then sat out the entire 2021-22 season due to mental health issues and a back injury.
Though Simmons showed flashes of his former self following his Nets debut in October 2022, the Australian All-Star has yet to establish a role. His numbers have fallen to his career lows in minutes, points, assists, steals and rebounds.
The 26-year-old has two years and $78 million left on his contract. After the Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant trades, Simmons is the highest-paid player on the Nets.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Earlier this week, the team signed head coach Jacque Vaughn to an extension as Brooklyn begins its playoff push.