Simmons, who was acquired by the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a deal focused on James Harden, has not played an NBA game since May after requesting a trade from Philadelphia – citing his mental health as the main reason.
“I think he’s in pretty good shape,” Nash said before the game Monday night against the Sacramento Kings. “And if we work with him here, coupled with his physical build-up to make sure he’s comfortable on the floor and outside, I think he’ll be ready to play mentally if he’s physically ready.”
Nash said there is still no clear schedule when Simmons will return to the floor. The former All-Star Match joined his new teammates on Monday (and was on the bench during Monday night’s game), but Nash said Simmons was only taking some physical tests so staff could see where he started with the Nets.
“It’s in the performance team,” Nash said. “They’re going to go through the evaluation and his return to the game, build-up and all that. It’s been a long period of activity outside the NBA, so we’ll see how they make up his program and how long it will take.”
Nash said the last time Simmons would play would be a “joint decision” between Simmons and Nets staff.
“We need to put him in that position to have the necessary conditions under him and feel safe,” Nash said. “And then he also needs to feel confident and comfortable that the time has come. So, whatever it is, we hope there will be a great partnership in these decisions.”
Nash said that whenever that time comes for Simmons, it won’t be because of what the Nets have been fighting lately. On Monday night, they broke a 11-game losing streak, beating the Kings but still have a 30-27 record.
“I think it should happen naturally,” Nash said. “It hurts so much to suffer and play games. At the same time we have to keep in mind the big picture. And although we try to win every night, we can’t miss steps. We have to be as thoughtful and methodical with our approach as we can. .
“And if it all came together without problems, it would be great; but if not, we follow our process and continue to build that cohesion and understanding, and no matter how long it takes, it takes time. ”
The Nets are still optimistic as to how Simmons will eventually fit in and how they will be able to play if he is on the floor.
“I think we can play very soon,” said Nets big man Nick Claxton after the shootout. “We’re going into transition. We’ll definitely be able to switch a lot in defense, having a great length, having good teams. And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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