Simmons' months-long standoff with the Sixers cost him nearly $20 million, alleging that he wasn't mentally ready to suit up and needed a new environment to be back to his former self. Needless to say, the team didn't buy that narrative, and neither did the fans.
Simmons Breaks The Silence
That's why Simmons made the most of the opportunity to clear the air on his situation, calling out the people who talked about him without knowing what was going on:
“This is the first time I’m really speaking out, right?” Simmons told the media. “So, [over] the last six months I had everybody saying something, but nobody knew. So, I can’t really say anything negative towards anybody that was saying something because they just didn’t know.
It Was Nothing Personal, Says Simmons
Simmons claims that he never held any grudges towards the Sixers as an organization or the fans. Per him, his desire to leave Philadelphia went beyond all that:
“I’m not the type of person to try to put somebody down for something I don’t know about. That’s just not me as a man, Simmons clarified. I had my family there supporting me from Day 1, [and] friends. I’ve made a ton of friends that work with the Sixers, too. So, it was never a personal thing. It was just for my well-being to get to where I needed to be.”
Simmons Wasn't Himself Anymore
Simmons claimed that multiple issues over the past couple of years forced him to request an exit. He just wanted to be his old self and felt like that couldn't happen in Philadelphia:
“It was more so, it was just piling up, a bunch of things that have gone on over the years to where I just knew I wasn’t myself and I needed to get back to that place of being myself and being happy as a person and taking care of my well-being,” Simmons said. “That was the major thing for me. It wasn’t about basketball. It wasn’t about the money [or] anything like that.
He Says He's 'Getting There' Mentally
Simmons still doesn't have a timetable to make his Nets debut as he continues to work his way back from his mental health issues. Then again, he's looking forward and excited for the opportunity:
“Physically, over the last six months I’ve been working, so I feel physically pretty good,” Simmons said. “Mentally, I’m getting there. It’s an ongoing thing to stay on top of that. But I think I’m headed the right direction.”
If Simmons was indeed struggling with mental health, we hope he finally finds some peace.