Like an albatross around their collective necks, the Ben Simmons situation continues to have a massive impact on the Philadelphia 76ers‘ campaign. While the team has performed admirably amid the uncertainty, it’s trending perilously toward lost season territory.
And yet, Sixers president Daryl Morey is still playing hardball on the trade front, despite the fact that Simmons has given zero indication that he’s considering a return.
If you ask National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, this battle between player and team has become a debacle. More than that, though, it’s something that probably should have been solved by now — or completely avoided at the outset.
“Candidly, I think a lot of this stuff could be resolved if everyone behaved like a grown-up,” she told hosts Antonio Daniels and Rick Kamla during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio, as relayed by Keith Pompey. “I think what’s happening in Philadelphia frankly is ridiculous and I don’t know why we’re playing chicken with each other.
“It just strikes that this is something that could be worked out. It’s difficult.”
Communication, Communication, Communication
Although Roberts conceded that she’s not a fly on the wall in Philly, she made reference to a promise being made by the Sixers to move Simmons.
“Look, none of us is privy to every detail,” she said. “…This is not an issue that emerged at the start of the season. There has been an issue with this player and that team for a while. Rumor has it promises were made about being able to move the player and obviously those promises either weren’t kept or couldn’t be kept. Who knows?”
Regardless of what happened, though, Roberts maintains that if the two sides had done a pretty simple thing in actually talking, we may not be where we are now.
“As best as I can tell, they have been at loggerheads since the beginning of the season with very little communication between the player and the team. I just don’t roll like that.”
Clearly, the lack of communication doesn’t sit well with the NBPA director
“That’s not the way grown-ups should behave,” she said. “That’s the way grown-ups are behaving.”
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Sixers Still Hoping Simmons Will Play?
As it stands, there’s a lot of water under the bridge for the Sixers and Simmons, and not in a good way. Regardless of what has transpired, though, it would seem that Philly still has designs on getting Simmons back on the court. At the least, that’s what longtime NBA scribe Marc Stein is hearing.
Whether that ever comes to pass remains to be seen.
It’s clear that some damage was done when Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid failed to back Simmons up in the wake of the Sixers’ Game 7 playoff loss to the Hawks last season. And Morey making statements in the media about the stalemate potentially continuing for four years probably did little to smooth things over.
So, asking him to come back now may be a fool’s errand. On the other hand, if Morey takes too little back for such a high-level asset, he risks squandering additional years of Embiid’s prime beyond 2021-22.