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PHILADELPHIA — Even just sitting on the bench, Ben Simmons knows the reception he’s going to get for Thursday’s return to Philadelphia. The Nets say he’s a big boy who doesn’t need his hands held through the boos and jeers.

Good thing, because they don’t intend to hold them.

“He’s a big boy, he’ll be fine and he’s excited to join our team,” coach Steve Nash said. “He wants to be there on the bench with his teammates.”

Simmons requested a trade from Philadelphia after last season, citing mental health issues. After getting dealt last month, he’s still ramping up and yet to practice with the Nets, but has the enduring hatred from the City of Brotherly Love.

“Lovely,” Kyrie Irving predicted for Thursday’s atmosphere.

The Sixers already added a fence by the players’ entrance to the court, and are beefing up security to playoff levels according to the Philly Voice.

Nets
Ben Simmons
AP

Kevin Durant has already walked a mile in Simmons’ shoes, making a February 2017 return to a hostile Oklahoma City after leaving the Thunder for Golden State. But he has no intention of talking to Simmons to brace him.

“Absolutely not,” Durant shook his head. “That’s one of those things he’s going to have to experience for himself. … Nobody’s going to hold his hand.

“I’m sure it’s going to be some personal attacks, some words that may trigger you personally, but that’s just how fans are. They’re going to get under our skin. And they’re going to let their voices be heard. Part of the experience of coming to an NBA game is to heckle. Some people don’t even enjoy basketball, their lives are so sh-tty that they get to just aim it at other people. … Ben understands that.”

Durant admitted he’d gotten the chance to shut the OKC fans up with every basket, but Simmons will just have to sit there on the bench and deal with it. But that’s just part of the (highly paid) job.

“Ben doesn’t have that opportunity right now: He’s got to just sit there and just take a bunch of people being childish, throwing insults at his way because he didn’t want to play basketball for them [any] more,” Durant said. “I mean, it’s funny when you look at it in the bigger picture. You see what it really is.

“But that’s just the sport we play. That’s the profession we’re in. We’re out making $40 million a year, you can take that for 48 [minutes], for a couple hours. I’m sure Ben has that approach.”


LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip impingement), David Duke Jr. (G-League), Joe Harris (left ankle surgery), Day’Ron Sharpe (G-League) are out. Brooklyn left Sharpe down despite the injury to Aldridge, and the rookie had 15 points and eight rebounds Wednesday for Long Island, even hitting 3 of 5 from deep.


Sixers coach Doc Rivers said Danny Green is “most likely” out with a lacerated finger suffered Monday against the Bulls.

Source: NYPOST

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