NEW YORK - Trying to bring their star player back into form, the Brooklyn Nets announced on Monday that they have signed up former Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons for a basketball summer camp in hopes that he might gain interest in the sport again.
“Ben has barely played in the past year and a half, and we’ve had a hard time trying to get him excited for the game again,” said Nets GM Sean Marks. “So hopefully, the summer camp might, at the very least, remind him that he’s still an NBA player.”
The Nets are enthusiastic about the chances of Simmons returning, as they try to get him prepared ahead of the league. “Sometimes, even after you give them $35 million per year, the players still need a little push on these things,” said Marks, who emphasized that the front office was trying to do their best to scout the most suitable summer camp in Brooklyn for Simmons.
Marks admitted that when the Nets traded for Simmons, he had thought that seeing the dedication of players like Kevin Durant might inspire him to start playing again, but the 25-year-old still seemed to be elsewhere mentally.
“We just think that a player his age must at least exercise and get some fresh air regularly and maybe practice a few shooting drills while he’s at it,” said Marks, “And we think that the summer camp will help him find the passion that led him to three All-Star appearances, the 2018 Rookie of the Year and $1.4 million in fines.”
Sources close to the player reported that he had informed the team that he was ready to play recently but the team chose to let him rest.
“He told them that he really wanted to play back in May,” said a source close to Simmons. “But it was too late since the Warriors had already won the championship and the league had ended.”
The source reiterated the need to support young talents like Simmons, “I was just telling Sean [Marks] that if this basketball camp thing doesn’t work out, maybe he can give baseball a shot. Or chess. Whatever he wants. I think he has the capability for all that, he just needs some willpower.”
At press time, Simmons announced that he would be sitting out the first week of Summer Camp after a 5th grader stepped on his foot.