Ben Simmons made it clear to the Philadelphia 76ers that he didn’t want to return to the franchise and would not be reporting to camp.
Head coach Doc Rivers tried to smooth it out and said it’s his job to “change Simmons’ mind” and convince the 6-foot-10 point guard to stay with Philadelphia following a rough playoff elimination and a brutal offseason where Simmons’ reputation and status as an elite baller was under siege by media and fans.
Simmons doesn’t like the way the team basically dangled him out there for a potential trade and supported much of the criticism hurled the three-time All-Star’s way.
The Sixers: Hey Ben sorry about blaming our second-round loss almost solely on you and dangling you in trades all offseason while constantly leaking that every team thinks you suck too much to give up anything of value for. Anyway, want to report to camp?
Ben Simmons: pic.twitter.com/Rp5Z63jQHD
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 21, 2021
Simmons Stiffs Sixers On Training Camp Start
Just in case we weren’t sure on where Simmons stood, he doubled down on his desire to leave Philly. Simmons said on Monday that he does not intend to show up on Tuesday for the beginning of 76ers training camp. ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Simmons stated that he “does not want to play for the 76ers again.”
The Sixers held media day on Monday and the team convened for training camp. As expected, Simmons was a no-show.
Rivers & Morey Hope For Reconcilliation
Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said there’s hope of a reconciliation with Simmons, according to ESPN reporter Tim Bontemps. Bontemps also said Morey pointed out the “Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay” as proof that things can be turned around with one half of their superstar tandem.
When asked about potential fines for Simmons not showing up, Morey said the NBA’s Collective Bargaining agreement clearly spells out how teams should handle this type of situation, so expect Simmons to lose some paper during his holdout.
It’s not like his teammates didn’t try to persuade him to rejoin the team, but he basically rebuffed their efforts to talk with him. Simmons said he had nothing to talk about and wouldn’t even let them meet with him.
Blame The President of Basketball Operations
Michael Smith blames Daryl Morey for the mess. Some of Simmons’ teammates say they would have reached out a long time ago to Ben if they knew it was going to get this bad. Then again, Smith believes that they assumed Simmons would be traded by training camp and they wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.
Morey kind of sat on his hands, hoping Simmons would have a change of heart, but once a player makes up his mind smoothing things out never works. Ask Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and a host of other superstars who forced trades despite their teams’ efforts to reconcile things.
Embiid Says He & Simmons Can Still Win Together
Joel Embiid says he hopes Simmons will come back and join the team. He knows “we can win together,” Embiid says.
The Process has proved that the tandem can win together. Philly had the best record in the East in the 2020-21 season. Now the burning question is whether or not you will ever see Simmons and Embiid on the court together wearing Sixers uniforms again.