The Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff shortcomings have created an uncertain future ahead for Ben Simmons. The star point guard remains entrenched in trade rumors throughout the offseason. Despite that, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal recently sent out a stern message to Simmons.
Ben Simmons maintains uncertain future with the 76ers
Since the 76ers bowed out of the playoffs, Simmons’ future remains a prominent discussion.
The 25-year-old received the bulk of the blame due to his offensive struggles in the seven-game playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Simmons became a scoring non-factor as he notched only 12 points in the fourth quarter over the seven contests.
His inability to contribute offensively, especially outside the paint, is the biggest glaring weakness in his game. It’s led many to question his ability to lead the 76ers or another team to an NBA title. As he sits with an uncertain future in Philadelphia, a Hall of Famer voiced a stern message to him.
Shaquille O’Neal delivers a dose of reality to Ben Simmons: ‘The people in Philly have given him enough chances’
The lingering drama has led many other around the league to weigh in on the situation.
Hall of Fame big man Shaquille O’Neal has kept his pulse on the matter, dishing out stern criticism toward the All-Star point guard. The 49-year-old went that route again, voicing during a recent interview on The Rich Eisen Show that Simmons is obligated to improve his craft.
“We are obligated to put on a good show,” O’Neal said. “I put myself in this category, they are paying us $20 to $30 million to dribble a basketball. Put on a good show. Work on your game. They are asking you to work on your game. Nobody is saying you are a bad guy. We’re saying that the process is over.
“We built this team to win championships. People in Philadelphia respect people that work hard. You got to work on your game…Listen, I wasn’t a good free-throw shooter, but I wasn’t afraid worried about being aggressive because I was worried about missing free throws.
“We’re obligated to put on a good show, and we’re obligated to work on our game, so he has to decide if he wants to be a really good player or do I want to be one of the greatest. It sounds good, but it’s a thin line.”
O’Neal isn’t bashing Simmons, but rather is challenging him to take the next step in his development. His lack of confidence in his outside shot is preventing him from becoming one of the league’s best talents. It’s solely on his shoulders to reach that goal.
“It ain’t got nothing to do with Philly,” O’Neal said. “This is all on him. The people in Philly have given him enough chances. Philadelphia, Boston, LA, and Miami, you got to bring [there]. You got to work hard. He’s been doing the same thing for 3-4 years, and they have given him the pass. If he does come back there, his game better be different.”
76ers will hold the final say
As much as Simmons wants to play elsewhere, the 76ers control his NBA future.
The 25-year-old is in the second year of his five-year, $177.2 million deal that runs through the 2024-25 campaign without any player or team option. Simmons is threatening to be a no-show at training camp, but Philadelphia holds the final say.
The 76ers are not against moving the three-time All-Star, but rather it’s the lack of significant trade offers that remain the holdup. The front office wants to acquire another All-Star talent, but no team is willing to present the desired asset due to Simmons’ decreased value.
If he holds firm to staying away this offseason, it could create a distraction for Philadelphia. Ultimately, it remains on the 76ers to determine his fate.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.