Ben Simmons said Tuesday his mental health struggles began well
before the 76ers' season ended and he didn't believe he'd be able
to overcome them in Philadelphia.
He's eager to begin moving on with the Brooklyn Nets, though
isn't sure yet when he will join them on the court. Nor was he sure
how things got so bad in Philadelphia.
“If I knew, I would tell you everything,” Simmons said. “But
there’s just a lot of things internally that had happened over
time, and it just got to a place where I don’t think it was good
for me mentally. So, it is what it is. It happened and I’m moving
He spoke at the Nets' practice center, less than a week after
the 76ers traded him to Brooklyn as part of a package for James
The former No. 1 overall pick hasn't played since the 76ers were
beaten by Atlanta in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Postgame comments from teammate Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers
after Simmons played poorly were considered the catalyst for his
trade request, but Simmons said that wasn't the case.
“That was earlier than that series or even that season that I
was dealing with and that organization knew that,” Simmons said.
“So it’s something that I continue to deal with, and I’m getting
there and getting to the right place to get back on the floor.”
Simmons said he hopes to be ready to play by the time the Nets
visit the 76ers on March 10.
He thanked the 76ers organization and fans for their support and
said he had spoken with some teammates and personnel — though not
Embiid — after the trade. He also spoke that day with Kevin Durant,
whom he will join along with Kyrie Irving in a lineup the Nets hope
will be good enough to win the Eastern Conference.
“I think it’s going to be scary,” Simmons said. “Having those
guys run alongside me, multiple different weapons on the floor and
I think at the pace we want to play at, it’s going to be
That was the expectation for his partnership with Embiid, the
76ers' All-Star center. They led Philadelphia to the best record in
the East last season, but Simmons was already dealing with personal
challenges he felt required him to leave the organization.
“I think I just wasn’t in the place there to do that and a lot
of things had happened over that summer to where I didn’t feel like
I was getting that help,” Simmons said. “But it is what it is. I
don’t have any — it wasn’t a personal thing towards any player or
coach or owners or anything like that. It was about myself, getting
to a place where I need to be.”
He is happy so far in Brooklyn, where he was with the Nets on
Monday when they beat Sacramento to snap an 11-game losing streak.
Simmons didn't want to speak in depth about what he had been
dealing with but was asked what he would say to those who saw him
smiling at the game and don't believe his struggles were anything
more than an excuse to seek a trade.
“They should be happy I’m smiling, honestly,” Simmons said.
“I’ve had some dark times over the last six months and I’m just
happy to be in this situation with this team and organization. So
people are going to say what they want. They’ve said it the last
six months and I haven’t commented and it is what it is, so people
are always going to have their own opinions.”