The Nets' highest-paid player is headed to the developmental league

From the All Star game to the development league in just three years

by Sededin Dedovic
The Nets' highest-paid player is headed to the developmental league
© Sarah Stier / Getty Images

Ben Simmons' career has plummeted in recent years. The former All-Star has been plagued by injuries and mental health issues, and has played just 48 games over the past two and a half seasons. Now, it looks like he may be forced to play with the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn's developmental team, to get his career back on track.

Simmons was drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016 and quickly became one of the most exciting young players in the NBA. He was a triple-double machine, and was a key part of the Sixers' rise to contention.

However, Simmons' career began to stall in the 2019-20 season, when he missed significant time with a back injury. He returned to the playoffs, but struggled mightily, and the Sixers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The following offseason, Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal that also sent James Harden to Philadelphia. Many believed that playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would elevate Simmons' game to the next level.

However, Simmons was even worse in Brooklyn than in Philly. He played only 24 games for the Nets and has been out since November 6 due to a back injury. He is a talented player, but he failed to live up to his potential, injury and mental health problems unfortunately stopped him.

The highest salary in the Nets

This season, he will earn 37.9 million dollars according to the contract with the Nets, and next season , he will become richer by 40.3 million dollars. He earned $125.6 million in his career.

Simmons is the NBA's 20th highest-paid player, and the Nets' first. Nets coach Jacques Vaughan recently said he hopes to use Simmons with the Long Island team "to put him through the training process first and surround him with the bodies of the other players." Playing in the developmental league would be a big drop for Simmons, but it may be the only way for him to regain his confidence and prove that he can still be a valuable player in the NBA.