By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons has remained atop headlines in recent weeks, and even more so in the last few days. Due to the actions from Simmons in a recent 76ers team practice debacle, people are bashing him all over social media. There is a fairly consistent belief that he is in the wrong, which I am not debating. What I do think, however, is that we will no longer see Simmons in a Philadelphia jersey at all.
According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Simmons has been suspended for the season opener due to “detrimental conduct” to the team. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later gave the details, saying that Simmons refused to participate in select team drills. 76ers head coach Doc Rivers then proceeded to throw Simmons out, causing the suspension to come later that day. This is shocking news, as Simmons had just recently returned to the team after he spent some time away over the offseason and into training camp.
With this news, it seems to me as if the bridge between Simmons and the organization has been burned. All ties have been cut, and the situation has reached a breaking point that I do not think can be fixed. Superstar teammate and starting center Joel Embiid gave recent comments, adding to this belief.
Embiid said, “At this point I don’t care about that man [Simmons].”
When your star teammate has given up support for you and does not care to comment any further on the matter, you know it’s bad. Additionally, Rivers recently gave more insight to the situation, saying that he doesn’t like the distractions being set on the team. Rivers said that it isn’t fun dealing with the situation, and that he wants Simmons to be out there playing. Rivers suspended Simmons, as it was a necessary punishment in his eyes, however he wishes none of this was going on.
We have seen in years past with other disgruntled stars in the NBA that players tend to get their way. If a high-caliber player wants out of a situation, or desires a location, they tend to be granted what they wish. Whether you hate on his game or not, Simmons is still an All-Star player. He will end up somewhere else, and make them a better team because of it. The hardest part will be not only finding a trade destination, but finding the right value to trade him for.
With the trade demand in place and Simmons not playing in the opener, I simply cannot see a future for him in Philadelphia. 76ers general manager Daryl Morey will continue to look for a trade that benefits the team. Morey didn’t like the offers he had over the summer, and those offers are likely to change with the recent news. All of their leverage is gone, but I expect Morey and the team to pull the trigger and get through this situation once and for all.
The 76ers need this toxicity to be gone from the locker room and team. The roster is a solid one, with the right pieces to be a top-five team in the Eastern Conference. With the season underway and a goal to contend for a championship, the team will do whatever it can to ensure they have the best chance to win. In order for this to happen though, there is absolutely no way Simmons can suit up and play another game as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.