A Ben Simmons’ trade from the Philadelphia 76ers seems unlikely


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Kyle McKee, Sports Editor

The whole Ben Simmons situation in Philadelphia has escalated into something the National Basketball Association has never seen before.

The latest on Simmons comes from The Athletics’ Shams Charania, who has reported that Simmons currently isn’t mentally ready to return to on-court action with the team, and that he willll be missing Sixers games until further notice.

To understand the situation fully and how it has reached the point of no return, one has to go back to how the 2020-21 season ended for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Back in May, when the top seeded 76ers lost in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs to the fifth seeded Atlanta Hawks, it seemed like a near-lock that Simmons would be traded over the off-season, especially considering how poorly Simmons played in the playoffs.

In the seven game series against Atlanta, Simmons averaged 9.9 points per game on just 6.4 attempted field goals per game, and shot a horrific 33% from the foul line. The most surprising stat from that series was that, Simmons attempted a total of three shots in the fourth quarter of all seven games,according to Statmuse.

Simmons’ poor performance in the playoffs was a main topic of discussion through the entire off-season. A trade seemed enviable as Simmons eventually requested a deal out of Philly and even said that he would “never wear a Sixers jersey again.” However, as the summer days passed and the season quickly approached, no trade actually happened.

Fast-forward to training camp and no deal made; Simmons was a no show for most of the pre-season. Then, out-of-seemingly nowhere he reported to Sixers training camp.

For a brief moment, there was a feeling that Simmons might actually suit up for the Sixers again and try to improve his trade value. That hope was quickly dashed as Simmons was thrown out of practice by head coach Glen Rivers for not wanting to participate in a defensive drill. In fact, there was even footage captured by the media that showed Simmons practicing with his cellphone in his pocket.

The details of the practice as reported by Shams Charania are as follows: Doc Rivers asked Simmons to join a defensive drill. Simmons refused. River then asked again. Simmons said no again. Rivers then told Simmons he should go home, and Simmons dropped the ball he was holding and left.

Shortly after, news broke that Simmons would be fined a total of $1.4 million dollars for his absence in four preseason games and missed practices.

Teammate Joel Embiid’s comments after practice made the situation worse. “At this point I don’t care about that man, honestly. He does whatever he wants,” Embiid said.

Now, with the season underway, a Simmons trade seems like a longshot. Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey recently spoke about the situation: “You’re going to think I’m kidding, and I’m not. This could take up to four years. We are in the prime of Joel’s career,he said. “We have to get back either Ben Simmons playing well for us – that will help us win the championship — or we have to get back a difference maker for Ben Simmons.”

Let it be known that despite all the criticism the 6’10” point guard has endured this off- season, he’s still an incredible player.

He has been selected for three All-Star games and has made two NBA All-Defensive teams in his four years in the league. Plus, he is only 25.. That’s not to say that Daryl Morey and the Sixers aren’t going to just deal Simmons for a bunch of scraps. They want an all-star caliber player in return, as stated by Morey multiple times. “Ben Simmons is a difference maker. I know right now people who are down on Ben Simmons, and there are good reasons for that, I think from multiple respects of both on the floor and off. But the reality is this guy is a multi-time All-Star. So Buckle in people,” Morey said.

Even though this could take a long time sort out and could serve as a distraction for the Sixers all season long, it appears to be theright decision to not rush into making a deal.

Superstars like Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Karl Anthony-Towns have been rumored to have frustrations with their current situations. Any of these stars could request a deal in a month or two and if that happens, the Sixers will have the best trade package to offer with Simmons.

As Daryl Morey said: “Buckle in people!” The Simmons saga in Philly will continue to dominate headlines until a deal is ultimately reached.