An ugly chapter in NBA history came to something of a close this week, when the 76ers and former franchise cornerstone Ben Simmons reached a settlement regarding Simmons' grievance over the $20 million in salary that was withheld during his holdout last season.
Terms of the settlement were not initially disclosed, as per a confidentiality agreement.
Simmons had maintained he was unable to play over mental health issues, which prompted skepticism from some fans and journalists, and, later, a back ailment. Doubters were seemingly proved wrong, though, at least on the latter count, when Simmons never took the floor for the Nets and underwent offseason back surgery.
According to ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose, Simmons was subjected to undue "slander" over the melodrama, and the Sixers bear at least some of the blame for why Simmons never panned out in Philly the way some had hoped.
"Well, first it's about health, and he took a lot of slander for not playing in Philly and with the Nets," Rose said while analyzing the Simmons settlement on Tuesday's edition of NBA Today. "And as any athlete will tell you, you don't just turn around and get back surgery. So, clearly he was injured. So, I want to know how he even passed a physical. But now that he's there, I believe he's healthy. He's going to give them what I consider a jump lineup up front."
Rose then addressed Simmons' well-documented shooting woes, explaining that the Sixers had him playing out of position.
"Philadelphia made a mistake in developing Ben Simmons as a point guard, and here's why: When you're not attempting shots outside of the paint, it's hard to have you at the top of the floor. So, now that they have KD, he's going to play quasi-minutes at the four. Watch Ben Simmons be on the baseline playing like a small-ball five. And, in that case, he's going to have an opportunity to be a productive player. He's not going to have to worry about shooting the ball, he's not going to have to worry about being a big-time scorer. He can be a defender, a playmaker, and a teammate, and I think he'll fit right in with KD and Kyrie."
While there may be some truth to Rose's point, he seems to have omitted that Simmons declared himself a point guard on numerous occasions over the years, even as his shooting woes became painfully apparent -- most famously during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks in June 2001, which is the last time he played in an NBA game.
The Nets appear to be trying to steer Simmons in a different direction, though. Late last season, head coach Steve Nash revealed the team planned to deploy him as something of a hybrid point guard-center.
Whether that comes to fruition is another matter entirely.