The Sixers are preparing to use the same strategy whether Ben Simmons is part of the team or not, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The situation is surrounded by uncertainty even after Simmons made a surprise appearance in Philadelphia Monday night, then met with management on Tuesday. He still wants to be traded and the Sixers have promised to oblige, but no traction has been reported on any potential deal.
Coach Doc Rivers is downplaying the level of distraction, telling reporters, there’s not a Plan A and Plan B depending on whether Simmons is involved. “It’s only a Plan A,” Rivers said. “What we run, you don’t change just because one guy comes on the floor.”
Simmons’ absence has left a void at point guard because he typically initiates the offense when he’s on the court. Injuries have delayed Rivers’ plans to name a starter as Tyrese Maxey, who has adductor tightness, and Shake Milton, who’s dealing with a sprained ankle, both missed Monday’s preseason game.
“Obviously, spacing is going to change with Ben out there,” Seth Curry said. “But we know how to adjust. Everybody knows how to play basketball. It’s not too different from the stuff we did last year. It’s just trying to execute stuff better.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Nets star James Harden confirms that he and Kevin Durant were both consulted before management reached the decision not to allow Kyrie Irving to be a part-time player, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Harden says he supports his teammate, but doesn’t want the situation to become a distraction. “Kyrie believes in his beliefs, and he stands firm and strong on that. And for us, we respect it,” Harden said. “We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do. Individually, myself, I am still wanting to set myself up for a championship. And I feel like the entire organization is on the same path and we are all in this as a collective unit.”
- Celtics coach Ime Udoka expects Jaylen Brown to be ready for opening night following a bout with COVID-19, tweets Boston writer Mark Murphy. He added that it will be a “tight timeline” for Al Horford to play.
- Rich Levine of Boston.com examines the long-term prospects for Celtics second-round pick Juhann Begarin, who will play this season in France.