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Shams: Ben Simmons Didn't Leave Nets Group Chat Despite Rumors; 'This Never Happened'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2022

James Devaney/Getty Images

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday that the rumors that Ben Simmons left the Brooklyn Nets group chat after teammates asked him if he would be playing in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Boston Celtics this past postseason were not true.

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

"This NEVER happened.. it's an amazing story but it didn't happen"<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a> on the rumors that Ben Simmons left the Nets group chat after they asked him to play in game 4 against the Celtics <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/wzWShQzG9m">pic.twitter.com/wzWShQzG9m</a>

Simmons appeared to have his own take on the rumors:

Ben Simmons @BenSimmons25

😂 slow news day

Simmons never played for the Nets last season after joining the team as part of the James Harden trade because he reportedly injured his back during winter conditioning.

There was some belief that Simmons might make his return ahead of Game 4 and the power forward reportedly planned to do so, but as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported at the time, "a week-plus of pain-free days ended with pain soreness on the eve of Brooklyn's elimination."

Last week, Ric Bucher told Colin Cowherd on FS1's The Herd that when teammates reached out to Simmons to ask him about his playing status before the game, Simmons simply left the group chat.

"They're having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he's going to play against the Celtics, and from what I'm told, Ben just left the chat," Bucher said (8:30 mark). "They asked him, 'Are you going to play?' Ben left the chat. Like he didn't even answer the question. Just left the chat."

The Celtics when on to sweep the Nets, and Simmons officially went the entire season without playing a single game.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, it's unclear what the team will look like when Simmons—who had microdiscectomy surgery this offseason for the pain he was having in his lower back due to a herniated disk—does finally play for the Nets.

At the very least, that potential Nets debut seems to be on the right track.

"He is doing more on the floor, he's looking good," Shams told McAfee on Tuesday. "I think the Nets have high, high expectations for Simmons next year. ... He's supposed to be ready for training camp, here in a month-and-a-half. He's doing more and more on the court, I'm told."

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