Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers have dominated the headlines and conversations in social media spaces all offseason. Players who are seemingly hesitant to get vaccinated seem to be the only players who get the same amount of attention from the media and fans. The soap opera began with rumors of the Sixers shopping Simmons in trade talks last season when it was reported, Daryl Morey included him in an offer for James Harden.
Already a strenuous relationship at this point, things took a turn for the worst after Simmons only attempted four shots in a devastating game seven loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs last season. Joel Embiid threw him under the bus for not taking an open layup, and head coach Doc Rivers said he was unsure when asked if Ben Simmons could be the starting point guard on a championship team. He would eventually request a trade and threaten not to show up to training camp. All of this, coupled with rumors of Philly’s asking price in a Ben Simmons trade, has led to many questions and conversations about what the three-time All-Star’s trade value is.
With Joel Embiid’s growing exasperation, the best thing for everyone may be to keep Ben Simmons away from the Philadelphia 76ers activities.
After cutting off communication with virtually everyone within the organization for much of the offseason, Ben Simmons surprised everyone by showing up to the Wells Fargo Center to take his Covid-19 test just nine days before the Sixers tip off the season against the New Orleans Pelicans.
To say the drama surrounding Ben Simmons has caused too much tension within the organization and has become a distraction would be an understatement, and it may be time for the Philadelphia 76ers to keep Ben Simmons at home until they can find a trade partner.
Less than 48 hours before the Sixers begin their 2021-22 campaign, the team announced Simmons would miss Wednesday’s season opener for conduct detrimental to the team. Rivers said Simmons repeatedly refused to participate in a drill during Monday’s practice and was subsequently sent home.
During his media availability, Embiid told reporters, “At this point, I don’t care about him anymore. He does whatever he wants.” This statement comes just two weeks after he told reporters that he loves playing alongside Simmons and hopes he changes his mind about his trade request. While Embiid did his best to downplay the Simmons fiasco’s effect on the team, he was visibly frustrated with his co-star while speaking with reporters Monday afternoon. At one point, he went as far as to say, “It’s not our job to babysit anyone.”
The 76ers may have wanted to get Ben Simmons on the court to play up his trade value after his disappearing act in the aforementioned Hawks series, but that may not very well be a good idea. Look no further than James Harden if you want to see the negative effect playing a completely disinterested star can have on a team.
Rivers says he’s going to give him every chance to be part of the team. Still, with their franchise cornerstone’s growing resentment and exasperation, the best thing for everyone may be to keep Simmons away from all team activities until he has a change in attitude and mindset or the front office pulls the trigger on a trade.