NBA Trade Deadline: The Dramatic Ben Simmons-Philadelphia 76ers Situation, Explained
If you’re not caught up on the seemingly never-ending feud between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers — first of all — congratulations. You’ve saved yourself a ton of time over the last few months. But for those of you who don’t spend every waking hour on Twitter swiping through the latest reports and rumors, we’re here to catch you up on everything that’s transpired over the past eight months and what an eventual conclusion might look like.
The genesis of the Ben Simmons drama
To tell the entire Simmons story, we must first travel back in time to the 2021 NBA playoffs.
The 76ers, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, lost in devastating fashion to the Atlanta Hawks in seven games, and Simmons took the brunt of the blame from fans and media pundits alike. But after going 15-for-45 from the free throw line in the series and taking zero fourth-quarter shots in the last four games (including the non-dunk heard round the world), Simmons deserved all the criticism he was receiving.
A few days later, Simmons and his mega-famous agent, Rich Paul, met with Philadelphia’s front office and formally requested a trade.
A chaotic offseason for Simmons and the Sixers
In the months following Simmons’ trade request, the 76ers quietly had conversations with other teams about a possible deal, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey wasn’t exactly interested in giving away his second-best player at a discount. He believed Simmons could still be a part of the franchise moving forward, but he was quickly proven wrong.
A few weeks before the start of the season, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Simmons didn’t plan on showing up to training camp, and he had no intention of suiting up for the Sixers ever again.
The 76ers countered his holdout by fining him for every day he didn’t show up to camp. In mid-October, Simmons finally did report to the Wells Fargo Center and rejoined the team, but only in a physical sense. He was in the building and attended practices with the team, but he was acting disinterested and even refused to participate in drills at one point.
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers eventually grew tired of Simmons’ attitude and kicked him out of a practice. The team also suspended him for the season-opener. After the same practice, Joel Embiid spoke to reporters and bashed Simmons for his childish actions since rejoining the team.
A short while later, Simmons’ camp announced he would remain off the court as he worked to better his mental health. It’s been four months since that point, and Simmons is nowhere to be seen.
Still no conclusion on the horizon
It’s been eight months since Simmons first requested a trade from the 76ers. Morey has been negotiating with teams ever since, but the longtime executive refuses to trade his second-best player at a discount just because he refuses to show up for work.
The Sixers are going to wait as long as it takes to sell Simmons to another team for the right price. That price could be Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden, but it’s more likely a deal of that magnitude gets done in the offseason as opposed to before the NBA trade deadline next week.
So, here we still stand. Simmons hasn’t stepped on the court all season, and even though trade talks continue to happen, he’ll most likely remain a member of the 76ers for at least the rest of the year. He could still return to the court after the deadline if no deal gets done, but he’s burned far too many bridges to come back at this point.
All there’s left to do is wait.
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