Nets Notes: Simmons, Irving, Marks, Draft, Offseason

As we relayed yesterday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said at his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday that Ben Simmons is feeling better after having a microdiscectomy to relieve the pain from the herniated disc in his back, which had gotten worse over time. Brian Lewis of The New York Post has more details from Marks on how Simmons is doing post-surgery.

Ben had a tricky buildup, to be quite frank,” Marks said on Wednesday. “He got here and there was a setback obviously as he went through his ramp-up and we saw him on the court. We saw him participating in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games with the stay-ready group. We were hoping, just like Ben was, he was going to be out there.

It got to be too much and we had another follow-up MRI and we could see the herniation had expanded. At that point, there was really nothing but surgery that was going to fix this. … From the communications I’ve had with him multiple times since the surgery, he’s feeling relief already and feeling great. He knows that, it goes back to that five months, he has a big buildup to get ready and contribute.”

Simmons battled physical and mental health problems for several months and missed the entire 2021/22 season. Lewis asked Marks how the team plans to assist Simmons in both of those areas to see him return to action next season.

Regarding Ben post-surgery, I don’t want to speak for him but I can sense there’s a relief. There’s a new lease on life, when you’re able to take a problem and say that should be fixed and move that out of here and now it’s on to the rest,” said Marks, hesitant to discuss the touchy topic of Simmons’ mental health. Marks added that the Nets plan to have Simmons in the gym and around the team as much as possible, as we previously relayed.

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Head coach Steve Nash envisions Simmons playing multiple positions, saying that he’ll act as a facilitator on offense at times and a “positionless” role at others, per Ian Begley of (Twitter link).
  • All of the drama and lack of availability from Kyrie Irving since he signed with the Nets is no one’s fault but Marks’, argues Ian O’Connor of The New York Post, who adds that the Nets GM “is the one who made this mess (and) is the one who will almost certainly fail to clean it up.” Irving has appeared in just 103 of a possible 226 games with the Nets, and the team has only won a single playoff series in his three years with the team. Trading for James Harden, who sulked his way out of Houston and then Brooklyn a year later, further eroded team chemistry and created a “culture of player appeasement,” if there was any culture at all, says O’Connor.
  • Marks said the Nets plan to keep their draft pick (via the Sixers) as long as they can find a player who can help in 2022/23, Lewis tweets. The Nets hold the No. 23 pick and have until June 1 to decide whether they want to keep it or defer it until 2023.
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explores seven key questions Brooklyn will be faced with this summer, including whether the team should keep Irving.
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