Durant, Irving and Simmons were meant to form a fearsome trio that would contend for an NBA title, but both were traded in-season, torpedoing the Nets’ championship dreams and leaving Simmons with a host of new teammates.
Simmons is now flanked by the likes of Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, and said he was excited by the new direction of the Nets franchise while seemingly taking a shot at the stars who have left the team over the last few seasons.
“I think just playing with guys who are just easy to play with, that just have one goal and that’s to win. I don’t think guys have too many individual goals,” he told FOX-5.
“I think the team is going to come first and I think the culture that (Nets coach) Jacque Vaughn and (general manager) Sean Marks are building now has been incredible.”
Simmons faces a big season after coming off a career-worst campaign derailed by persistent back injuries.
The Aussie heads into the final two years of his bumper five-year, $274 million deal needing to lift his game if he’s to receive an extension from the Nets, and is ready to bounce back.
“(I feel) amazing. I think this is the first summer where I’ve really had to just get healthy and get back on track to where I need to be,” he said.
“I’m super excited to be on Brooklyn, obviously. And then we’ve got a great, great team, a great coach in Jacque Vaughn. So I’m excited. I think this year is gonna be a completely different year to the past couple.”