The story about the Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons leaving the team group chat after he was asked by his teammates if he would play in Game 4 is apparently not true, according to NBA insider Shams Charania.
Appearing as a guest on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Charania said it was a great story but not true.
“This NEVER happened.. it’s an amazing story but it didn’t happen.”
"This NEVER happened.. it's an amazing story but it didn't happen"@ShamsCharania on the rumors that Ben Simmons left the Nets group chat after they asked him to play in game 4 against the Celtics #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/wzWShQzG9m
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 9, 2022
The story about Simmons and the group chat was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ric Bucher on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” It spread like wildfire and was aggregated by just about every sports news site.
“They’re having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he’s going to play against the Celtics, and from what I’m told, Ben just left the chat,” Ric Bucher told Colin Cowherd on FS1’s The Herd. “They asked him, ‘Are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. Like he didn’t even answer the question. Just left the chat.”
Simmons’ stock among fans and many in the media is extremely low right now. His peers in the league likely don’t feel differently. It’s easy to see how this story spread and is believable. It’s confirmation bias.
Many think Simmons is “weak,” “soft” and doesn’t want to play basketball. Especially since he held out all of last season citing mental health concerns. A story that he just left the group chat confirms what so many already think.
Some people even believe that this alleged story is partly what prompted Kevin Durant’s trade request this summer.
On the surface it’s essentially Bucher’s word versus Charania’s. Or more accurately their sources’ words. Bucher hasn’t been a serious news breaker in over a decade. Charania and his rival, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski have that space locked up. The only other nationally recognized news breaker is Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.
This doesn’t mean that Charania can’t be wrong. But his intel has proven right more often than not. It’s also widely known in NBA media circles that Charania’s sources are mostly players and agents, so he would’ve likely heard this straight from some of the players in the Nets’ locker room.
The ins and outs of sports media is something fans should pay attention to, particularly when it comes to information that gets aggregated and becomes a dominant or trending news story.
To that end it’s also important to know that Charania is represented by Klutch Sports Agency, the agency also representing Simmons. Make what you will of that.
Simmons and group chats are tame in comparison to the firestorm the Nets are dealing with surrounding Durant.
In a meeting with owner Joe Tsai last weekend in London, Durant reiterated his request to be traded and served up an ultimatum. Keep the 12-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA player or fire general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. Charania broke the story on Monday.
Sources: Kevin Durant informed Joe Tsai that he does not have faith in the Nets‘ direction. The meeting was described as transparent and professional, with a clear message: Keep me — or the GM and coach. https://t.co/W1voNf9MDC https://t.co/0lbBay2OxF
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2022
Following the news Tsai sent out a tweet, expressing his support of the front office and coaching staff.
Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022
Stay tuned, things are going to heat up in Brooklyn as we get closer to training camp.