My opinion on the 76ers/Ben Simmons drama

On Friday morning on ESPN’s “Get Up”, Adrian Wojnarowski said that this drama between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers could “go on for a full year”.

All of this started after Ben’s lackluster play in the playoffs last year, where he averaged career lows in points (11.9) and field goal attempts per game (7.9), as well as an atrocious 34% from the free-throw line. In the Atlanta series, Ben attempted only 45 shots in the seven game series, essentially forcing Philadelphia to play four on five when on offense.

But what really turned fans sour is when Ben was right under the basket with Trae Young and passed up a wide-open layup. Joel Embiid called this the “turning point in the game” in his postgame interview. Head coach Doc Rivers was asked if the 76ers can win a championship with Ben as their point guard, and he could not answer that question.

After those things were said, Ben Simmons stated on many occasions that he does not plan on playing another game for the Philadelphia 76ers. He took a stance over the summer by not returning any of the 76ers calls, and then not returning for training camp in September, hoping to be a part of a trade out of Philadelphia. He was fined for missing media day, practices, and the preseason, and finally showed up to try and stop the fines from coming in. But when he returned to practice, he was not engaged, including having his cell phone in his pocket during his first day back at practice. The following day, he was thrown out of practice for multiple refusals to participate in a defense drill and was suspended for the team’s season opener in New Orleans.

President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said he is holding firm on not giving up Ben Simmons for pennies on the dollar, only willing to part ways with Simmons for a “difference-maker”.

According to Shams, Ben has since sat down with the team and all sides have agreed that this situation could have been handled better and they all take responsibility for their actions and wrongdoings, but Simmons is not mentally ready to play to his expectations.

Now that all of the facts are laid out, here is my opinion on the situation:

Simmons was supposedly linked to trade rumors when James Harden wanted out of Houston, but Philadephia (specifically Daryl Morey) was not willing to make move. Could this be true because of his recent departure from Houston just a few weeks before? Possibly, but that was an at the time, and the trade market value for Ben Simmons has yet to reach those heights again. Now that Simmons has said he does not want to return to the organization, the 76ers are refusing to trade Ben for role players. There is just one small problem with this: that market no longer exists. Since the end of last season, multiple reports have come out Sacramento, Portland, Golden State, among other teams have said they are no longer interested in trading for Simmons and will move forward with their current roster. At the beginning of free agency, the asking price was four first-round picks and/or an “all-star level” player. This asking price was ridiculous then, and their asking price at this moment is nonsensical.

Hey Daryl, you’ll never get that James Harden deal again, just accept it. What you must do now is create the best of an unfortunate situation. If you have to take a bunch of B and C players, do that. Turn the page on this Simmons saga and build around Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris.

Simmons has said for months that he is not coming back, and management decided to call his bluff, and he has not folded. Why keep a disgruntled player around that’s detrimental to the organization? Keeping Simmons around just creates more negative PR and will have you in the news every day for something I am almost certain you’re sick of dealing with. Move on and get over yourselves.

After coming off his worst statistical season, it was clear and obvious that Simmons and Embiid were not going to work together any longer. But up until the last 24 hours, Simmons almost refused to take responsibility for his actions. His defense has gotten better since coming into the league, but his offensive game, mainly his scoring ability, has seemed to plataeu. Since his free throw numbers are down, he has not been as aggressive driving to the paint, or even posting up on the low block. He has always lacked a reliable shot, so defenders can sag off. When is he going to get better? You signed a five-year contract to be a damn basketball player and work on your craft, but you still have these struggles that you did when go drafted!

In conclusion, both sides need to move on from each other. There is no reason for this saga to still be going on. Call up Cleveland and get Colin Sexton, or find a trade soon for a bunch of smaller pieces to round out the team. This is nonsense. Move on.

Deonta Saleem
Redskins & Wizards writer for and DC sports writer for

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