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New Net Ben Simmons talks about fight with mental health

After leaving the 76ers for the Nets, Ben Simmons has discussed his departure from Philadelphia and his mental health battle.

Update:
New Net Ben Simmons talks about fight with mental health
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Ben Simmons revealed he had been dealing with "dark times" due to his mental health as he was presented as a Brooklyn Net on Tuesday, although he added his issues while with the Philadelphia 76ers were "a personal thing".

Simmons reflects on dark times

Following a long-running trade saga, Simmons joined the Nets ahead of last week's deadline, with James Harden heading in the opposite direction.

Simmons had been mooted as a piece in a potential Harden trade as long ago as January 2021 – with Harden then forcing his way out of the Houston Rockets – and his future became more uncertain still following the 76ers' playoff defeat to the Atlanta Hawks last season.

The former number one overall pick averaged 6.3 points from 4.7 field goal attempts across the final three games of a seven-game series.

He was the subject of intense criticism after appearing to pass up shooting opportunities, with team-mates and coaches among those to question his performance level.

With Simmons subsequently keen to leave the 76ers, he has not played at all this season.

But the Australian explained as he met the media that the fallout from the Hawks series had not been a prominent factor in a difficult year to date.

"For me, it was just making sure mentally I was right to get out there and play again," Simmons said. "So that's something I've been dealing with.

"And it wasn't about the fans or coaches, or comments made by anybody. It was just a personal thing for me. That was earlier than that series or even that season that I was dealing with, and [the 76ers] knew that.

"So, it is something that I continue to deal with and I'm getting there and getting to the right place to get back on the floor."

He added his mental health issues had "nothing to do with the trade" but rather "a bunch of things that I was dealing with as a person, in my personal life, that I don't really want to go into depth with".

However, getting out of Philly was important for Simmons as he aims to recover.

"A bunch of things that had been going on over the years to where I knew I wasn't myself," he said, explaining his pursuit of a trade. "And I needed to get back to being myself and being happy as a person and taking care of my well-being.

"That was the major thing for me. It wasn't about the basketball, it wasn't about the money, anything like that. I want to be who I am and get back to playing basketball and that level and being myself."

Of his critics, Simmons said: "They should be happy I'm smiling, honestly. I've had some dark times over these last six months and I'm just happy to be in this situation with this team and organisation."

The move also gives Simmons the opportunity to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, with the Nets maintaining title hopes despite their slump to eighth in the East.

"I think it's going to be scary," the new signing said. "Having those guys running alongside me, multiple different weapons on the floor, and I think at the pace we want to play at, it's going to be unreal."

Simmons does not yet know when he will be available for the Nets, but he hopes to play against the 76ers on March 10.

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