Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons and Klutch Sports have mutually agreed to end their relationship, according to ESPN. Simmons is expected to hire longtime agent Bernie Lee, according to The Athletic.
Simmons switching representation midseason is the latest turn in what has been a tumultuous few years for the former No. 1 overall pick.
After disappointing in the 2021 NBA playoffs with the Philadelphia 76ers and getting publicly aired out by his head coach at the time, Doc Rivers, Simmons had Klutch Sports request a trade. That was followed by an extended holdout that led to Simmons sitting out through the trade deadline. The Sixers withheld nearly $20. million in salary from Simmons for sitting out, but the two parties reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount in August.
Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets as part of the blockbuster James Harden deal at the 2022 trade deadline, but he didn’t suit up for the Nets until the following season because of a back injury that required surgery in May.
Now 70 games into his Nets career, there are more questions surrounding Simmons than ever before.
Though Simmons started the season as a starter, he has been inactive for 15 of the Nets’ last 20 games with knee and back soreness. In the game he has played this season, he has underperformed with averages of 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game in 26.3 minutes per game. For context, he averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game in four seasons with the Sixers, three of which he was voted an NBA All-Star.
Coach Jacque Vaughn said Thursday that the Nets are “operating under the belief” Simmons will play again this season, and if that holds true, Simmons will have an opportunity to re-establish himself as a young talent worth building around now that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have moved on to different teams. But if the way that Simmons has played this season is any indicator of the player he’ll be when he returns, it’s going to be a long offseason for both the Nets and Simmons, who’s due to make $78 million over the next two seasons.
The Nets are 39-31 and sixth in the Eastern Conference.
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