Ben Simmons expecting to be ‘100 percent’ for start of season with his Nets future uncertain

During Nets general manager Sean Marks’ first comments regarding a franchise-changing offseason, he was asked about potential draft picks, a couple of teenagers, a coach who won’t debut for months and a player not even on the roster anymore. 

Ben Simmons never even came up, not asked about or commented on. 

That’s how out-of-sight, out-of-mind Brooklyn’s only All-Star is.

His injuries have made him a forgotten man. 

Simmons’ track record breeds skepticism.

But his camp insists he’s finally fit for the first time as a Net. 

“Ben has been doing his rehab and prep work for the upcoming season in Miami. He is through the rehab stage and has moved on to strength and conditioning,” Simmons’ agent, Bernard Lee, told The Post. “Because there have been so many starts and stops previously I’ll simply say he’s in a great place and the expectation is he’s able to start the season 100 percent of himself ready to go.” 

Ben Simmons’ agent insists the Nets guard is healthy. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Simmons’ Brooklyn tenure has had more stops and starts than Flatbush and Atlantic at rush hour.

Acquired at the cost of James Harden, Simmons has played just 57 games in parts of three seasons with the Nets. 

How many will he play in the fourth? 

“You can’t count on Ben Simmons,” ex-Nets GM Bobby Marks told The Post. 

With Simmons turning 28 this month and making $40.3 million in a contract year on a rebuilding team, his situation is far from ideal. 

Ben Simmons has battled injuries for most of his Nets tenure. Jason Szenes / New York Post

Most view him as an expiring deal with which the Nets can create all-important 2025 cap space, the key to their rebuild.

Marks projects Simmons as a minimum-salary player going forward.

Lee, his agent, sees a three-time All-Star with a chance to return to form. 

“An outsider sees uncertainty but someone living it sees opportunity,” Lee said. “Ben is excited to play basketball healthy. Which isn’t something he’s been able to do since he’s been in Brooklyn. 

“So if he shows up to training camp and he’s sharing the backcourt with the Brooklyn Knight and Mr. Whammy, he’ll figure it out. He’s focused on having the best year of his career and if he does I’m pretty sure all of that uncertainty will quickly disappear.” 

What kind of role Simmons plays this upcoming season bears watching. 

Brooklyn went into a rebuilding process by trading Mikal Bridges.

Ben Simmons is entering the final year of his contract. Robert Sabo for NY Post

It was a move that Simmons wasn’t warned about, unlike Nic Claxton and new coach Jordi Fernandez. 

“Ben’s done this for a long time now and he’s learned to worry about himself and what is in his control. He found out like everyone else did and that’s his preference,” Lee said. “He has a job to do and he’s focused on that.” 

When he’s fit, he’s done that job well — maybe too well for a tanking team. 

The Nets were a respectable 7-8 with Simmons last season, but just 25-42 without him for a horrid .373 winning percentage. 

Simmons’ defense helped Cam Thomas, who averaged 24.9 points and 3.1 assists in 15 games playing alongside him.

Would a healthy start rebuild Simmons’ value enough for a trade? 

“Overall, look … Ben is 27 years old … he’ll be 28 in a few weeks. Because of the last few years it sometimes seems easy to forget he’s a three-time All-Star, a two-time All-Defensive player and an All-NBA player,” Lee said. “His ability hasn’t changed, he was simply injured … it happens, he’s done the work to stop the cycle and seek out the answers and execute the work. 

Ben Simmons has often been on the sidelines due to injuries. Jason Szenes for the NY Post

“The work is his only way out of this and he knows that better than anyone and he’ll be coming into the upcoming season as prepared as he’s ever been, ready to do his job. We all have eyes, we have all seen in the times he’s taken the floor that there is just something different about him, every time he’s in the game he immediately has an impact and makes people around him better and now he’ll get to do that healthy.”

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