It has been 32 days since Ben Simmons posted anything to social media. And the last time he addressed the media was on June 20 following the Philadelphia 76ers’ Game 7 loss.
Simmons, who recently changed addresses, has been the subject of every conceivable trade rumor you can think of. From Minnesota to Miami, everyone has an opinion on what the three-time All-Star is worth and how he can help their team. On Tuesday, the young point guard jumped on Instagram to celebrate his 25th birthday (July 20) and commented on how been he’s handling the mental grind.
Simmons wrote: “Reflecting back I’ve experienced some amazing highs and with that, some of the lowest lows. Life’s a journey.. I’ll always remain relentless and remain human through it all. Here’s to my 25 year #Relentlesspursuit 🙌🏽 doing what I love on my bday I’m blessed🏀”
His Sixers teammates have mostly rushed to his defense, including very public votes of confidence from Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Seth Curry. Still, there is growing speculation that Simmons will be traded this summer and the Philly front office hasn’t quieted that chatter. In fact, the Sixers are already “engaged” in trade talks with several teams despite Doc Rivers calling for Simmons to return.
“Ben is great. I want him back next season,” Rivers told TMZ Sports on July 3. “He’s terrific. He’ll be great. I think he doesn’t need a lot of fixing. He’s going to be great for us.”
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Simmons Working with Shooting Coach
Simmons was feeling the love on social media upon turning 25 years old. LeBron James sent him a few cases of his tequila brand and he was serenaded by a mariachi band, per Instagram. And the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up was spotted working out in the gym with noted NBA trainer and shooting guru Chris Johnson. Interesting.
The Sixers guard has been under Johnsons tutelage for quite a few years so that part isn’t breaking news. He spent time with Johnson last summer where he was seen knocking down jumpers, including turnarounds in the post, mid-range pull-ups, catch-and-shoot threes (via NBC Sports Philadelphia). However, this year feels different and the fact Simmons was in the gym on his birthday has to bode well. Clearly he is taking the criticism to heart and trying to improve his all-around game this offseason.
Simmons also received several “Happy Birthday” shout-outs from his celebrity friends and fellow athletes. Jalen Ramsey, Rich Paul, Darius Garland, LeBron James – and, of course, his new girlfriend Maya Jama.
Spending Time at Power Forward?
One possible solution to “fixing Simmons” has been the idea of moving him from point guard to power forward. He spent time at the position last year during early practices in Walt Disney World. Would they consider putting him there for the long-term? Maybe. Simmons said he was open to it after the playoffs ended.
“I’m going to what I got to do, work on my game and get better,” Simmons said after Game 7 about switching positions, then added: “I’m not really, that’s not my focus right now.”