No more parties in L.A. for Ben Simmons and his Philadelphia 76ers teammates. The disgruntled star informed a Sixers contingent consisting of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle not to fly out to California to visit him. Simmons has “mentally checked out,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Charania reported the group wanted to talk to Simmons and convince him to report to training camp. He wasn’t interested in seeing them – guys he considers friends – since his mind is made up. Simmons wants out of Philly, so the cross-country flight would have been a waste of their time and money. Charania shared the following snippet:
Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade.
Simmons has mentally checked out as a member of the 76ers, sources said, meaning whether or not he ever appears in Philadelphia this season the organization may never again receive the same dedicated player.
Sixers’ training camp begins on Monday (Sept. 27) with Media Day and the first practice is scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 28). Simmons is not expected to be there despite several olive branches from the team.
“I can tell you up front, we would love to get Ben back, and if we can, we’re going to try to do that,” head coach Doc Rivers said, via FOX News. “Ben has a long contract, so it’s in our hands and we want him back.”
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Simmons Scared of Philly Fans, Not Unhappy
File this under absurd. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Simmons’ biggest issue isn’t with Rivers or the Sixers’ front office. No, the three-time All-Star is scared to play in front of the Philly fans. Maybe he thinks they will boo him or throw popcorn at him, who knows – either way, it’s arguably the most childish reason for requesting a trade in the history of sports.
Here is what Windhorst told SiriusXM NBA Radio:
He doesn’t want to be in front of those fans. So for him, I don’t think he intends to ever show his face there again unless he’s part of the visiting team and he’s one and out. Part of this is just a visceral thing, it’s not even about ‘I’m unhappy, get me outta here.’ I think he has instructed his agents ‘I’m not showing up, I don’t want to be in front of those fans.’
I’ve often wondered that if this was a year ago when they were playing in fan-less venues, or say the Sixers were relocated somewhere like the Raptors were and they were playing in Florida instead of Philadelphia, he might have shown up.
Minnesota Favorite to Land Simmons?
The Minnesota Timberwolves keep coming up as a potential destination for Simmons. Talks appeared to be heating up prior to outgoing president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas getting fired. He was bullish on acquiring Simmons.
But don’t count out his successor, Sachin Gupta, from making a trade. Remember, Gupta served in the Sixers’ front office in a previous job so he has familiarity with Simmons and his skillset.
“(Gupta) is going to work his a** off to try to acquire Ben Simmons and he has full authority to do so,” Wolfson said. “Trust me, they’ve given him the green light.”