Sixers star Ben Simmons recently rejected the opportunity to meet with his teammates in Los Angeles, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania reports that players such as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle planned on traveling to meet with Simmons and change his mind about requesting a trade.
Simmons communicated that he didn’t want his teammates to make the trip, as he has no interest in playing for the Sixers this season. The 25-year-old has held firm on his stance and appears to be mentally checked out from Philadelphia, Charania writes.
Along with various players, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers also recently expressed some hope that Simmons would change his mind and return.
“There’s been so many times this has happened (in sports) that hasn’t been reported…and the guy comes back,” Rivers said last week, as relayed by Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com. “So listen, we’re going to go through it. We’re gonna always do what’s best for the team, but I can tell you up front, we would love to get Ben back, and if we can, we’re gonna try to do that. Ben has a long contract, so it’s in our hands and we want him back.”
The Sixers have received interest for Simmons, but no trade is imminent, according to Charania. The team will host its media day on Monday and begin training camp on Tuesday. With Simmons, the club finished 49-23 last season — good for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Simmons is coming off a season where he averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. The defensive-minded point forward struggled in the Sixers’ second-round series against the Hawks, however, harming his trade value among rival teams.
Assuming Simmons doesn’t show up for training camp next week, Philadelphia can fine him or withhold game payments. He’s currently in the second season of a five-year, maximum-salary extension signed during the summer of 2019.