In recent days, multiple outlets have indicated that the Philadelphia 76ers were still intent on convincing embattled star Ben Simmons to return to the team. However, the possibility that Simmons actually reports to camp and suits up for the Sixers once again now appears less likely than ever.
Per a Twitter report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday, the three-time All-Star looks to have closed the book on his career in Philly. Reported Woj:
ESPN Sources: Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise.
The NBA insider further relayed that communication between Simmons and the Sixers has essentially ceased:
Simmons hasn’t spoken to team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials.
Things Have Been Heading in This Direction for Some Time
Simmons may not be endearing himself to the Sixers faithful with his approach here but he has been through the wringer this summer as well. In the wake of the Sixers’ ill-fated playoff finale against the Atlanta Hawks, Philly coach Doc Rivers waffled when asked if Simmons could be a championship point guard.
To make matters worse, Joel Embiid pinpointed Simmons passing up an open dunk attempt as the moment Game 7 turned on the team. Within days of the Sixers’ season-ending loss and with those comments still very fresh, Simmons was put on the trading block.
Over the months that have followed, Sixers president Daryl Morey has worked to find a deal for his star point guard. However, nothing to date has met with his high asking price. Consequently, the franchise looks to have shifted gears toward a reconciliation.
All the while, though, Simmons has been the subject of widespread criticism from fans and hoop pundits alike. And rumblings that he would opt out of training camp in hopes of facilitating a move have grown louder by the day.
Regardless of Morey and company’s desire to get things back on track, it now appears as though the damage has been done and Simmons is sitting out.
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How We Got Here
Before Simmons ever played a game for the Sixers, questions about his ability to develop a consistent jumper abounded. However, few could have envisioned just how much of a struggle it would be for the former No. 1 overall pick.
After four years and 275 games, Simmons has attempted just 34 total three-point shots, making only five. Meanwhile, 87.4% of his field-goal attempts have come within 10 feet of the basket. Regardless, the Aussie was able to lean on his multi-faceted skill set, athleticism and elite size to help propel the Sixers back into contention.
Unfortunately, Simmons’ shortcomings came back to bite the team in a big, bad way during the playoffs. Following a regular season that seemingly had the club close to an NBA title than it had been since Allen Iverson led the club to the Finals in 2001, Philly was shockingly ousted by the Hawks in Round 2.
All the while, Simmons made headlines with his poor free-throw shooting (34.2%) and his unwillingness to even attempt sots in the clutch. Although there were other factors in play — Danny Green’s injury among them — the three-time All-Star’s poor postseason effort loomed large.