As expected, Ben Simmons wasn’t present at the Sixers‘ Media Day on Monday, and his absence was the subject of plenty of discussion during the press conferences with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, head coach Doc Rivers, and star center Joel Embiid, among others.
As Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com tweets, Morey confirmed that Simmons and his camp asked the team for a trade as far back as the draft combine in Chicago this spring. However, Philadelphia’s head of basketball operations insisted that the club didn’t want to make a trade then or now, suggesting that there’s still “a lot of hope” for reconciliation (Twitter link via Chris Mannix of SI.com).
Morey pointed to this year’s standoff between the NFL’s Green Bay Pacers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers – who is still with the team – as an example of how a relationship that seemed destined for an end can still be mended (Twitter link via Michael Lee of The Washington Post). According to Morey, he hasn’t talked to Simmons himself in about six or seven weeks, but remains in frequent communication with the 25-year-old’s representatives (Twitter link via Neubeck).
Asked about next steps if Simmons remains away from the team, Morey hinted that fines will be coming, telling reporters that it’s “very clearly spelled out” in both Simmons’ contract and the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement what will happen (Twitter link via Neubeck). For what it’s worth, sources have told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that Simmons isn’t concerned about the potential fines and that money is playing “no role” in his decision-making.
Here’s more out of Philadelphia:
- Asked today about Simmons, Embiid replied, “Of course we want him back, he’s a big piece of what we’ve been building the past few years” (Twitter link via Neuebeck). The star center added that he’s “disappointed” with how the situation has played out. “I really hope he changes his mind,” Embiid said. “… I do love playing with him because he adds so much to our team. We’ve been building this team around us. I don’t see it as ‘This is my team’. I don’t care about any of that” (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of The Athletic).
- Embiid said today that dealing with trade rumors is something all players have to learn to deal with (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). “If the Warriors called and offered Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) for me, do you think the Sixers would say no to that?” Embiid asked. “… I wouldn’t say no to that.”
- Embiid confirmed that he and some teammates tried to travel to California to meet with Simmons. As The Athletic reported over the weekend, Simmons turned down that meeting. “I guess we got to let him be himself,” Embiid said (Twitter link via Neubeck).
- As Darryn Albert of Larry Brown Sports relays, Danny Green – in the most recent episode of his podcast – also discussed that attempted sit-down with Simmons. “This has nothing to do with the organization,” Green said. “This has to do with us. We just want to meet with him on a personal level, on a human being, friend level. If he still considers us friends, we don’t know if that’s the case yet or not.”
- Rivers declined to state his plans for the point guard position if Simmons doesn’t return, but strongly implied that Tyrese Maxey would be in line for the role, tweets Bontemps.