Philadelphia 76ers: The 5 stages of Ben Simmons trade grief

Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /

Ben Simmons is currently a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

This is a fact.

No matter how much you, me, or anyone we know would like for it to no longer be this case, presently, it’s undeniable.

How long Simmons should be a member of the Sixers, however, has been a hotly contested question many a fan has fought over on

Sure, Simmons is a fantastic defender and quite possibly the best 6-foot-10 passer in NBA history, but the way the 2020-21 NBA season closed out left many a fan to assume any sort of reconciliation between the two camps all but impossible.

… and yet, here we are. Simmons is still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers at the tail end of August, and according to Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports, the team is bracing for him to be on the roster this fall.

If this news makes you feel a certain type of way, I get it; I really do. When you spend an entire offseason waiting for a marque trade of NBA-shattering proportions, running things largely back with Simmons at the point can make you feel grief-stricken, no?

Fortunately, there’s a well-defined pathway to get through grief and get to the ultimate goal of acceptance. Here is how that could hypothetically go down.

How Philadelphia 76ers fans can access their Ben Simmons future.

1. Denial

No, no, no; it can’t be true!

Ben Simmons was supposed to be traded this offseason gosh darn it! We – and I do mean we – were supposed to land Damian Lillard, or at least Bradley Beal, and we’re stuck with Ben Simmons? Ben, passes-the-ball-to-Matisse-Thybulle-instead-of-taking-a-layup, Simmons?

This is the worst news imaginable.

2. Anger

Fire Daryl Morey.

Fire Elton Brand.

Fire Doc Rivers.

I’d say fire everyone, including the equipment manager, but the team already did that earlier this month in order to save money.

Do you know what would have really saved money? Not paying Ben Simmons $177 million over five years to throw up bricks like a darn Super Mario level designer.

I hate the Sixers. I hate Philadelphia sports in general. Why wasn’t I born in a real winning sports town like Boston?

3. Bargaining

Okay, okay; maybe expecting to get Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal back for Ben Simmons was a tad unrealistic.

Of course, fans are going to suggest lopsided trades from time to time; it’s the nature of “homer goggles.”

You know what? I’d be fine with a package centered around De’Aaron Fox, or even Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, and a pick.

You know, Joel Embiid was high school teammates with D’Angelo Russell and played alongside Andrew Wiggins at Kansas. Would it really be the worst-case scenario to get one of those players back plus supplemental players and maybe some picks?

4. Depression

Oh goodness, I’m actually trying to justify trading Ben Simmons, a three-time All-Star, for D’Angelo Russell or Andrew freakin’ Wiggins.

The Sixers have broken my brain. Nothing is real. Why can’t we go back to 2018-19, when the best team in the NBA called Philly home, and the future looked incredibly bright?

That’s it; I’ve had enough.

Sell the team. Move it to Kansas City. This stress is giving me an ulcer, and I’m not even 30.

5. Acceptance

You know what? There are worse things on the world than keeping Ben Simmons for the 2021-22 NBA season; things like intentionally trading for Andrew Wiggins.

Simmons finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, made his third-straight All-Star appearance in 2021, and might just have turned a corner offensively if his offseason workout videos are of any indication.

Why can’t this be the year Simmons goes from good to LeBron James Jr.? Why can’t Philly have the best basketball player in the universe? It’s happened before, a few times actually, but not in my adult lifetime.

We. Are. Due.

Plus, could you even imagine what would happen if Damian Lillard becomes available in January of 2022 and Daryl Morey already cashed out his biggest trade chip on a lesser prospect?

The city would burn to the darn ground.

Next. Revisiting the astounding Seth Curry trade. dark

If you really thinking about it, keeping Ben Simmons is actually the smartest move the Philadelphia 76ers could make, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just wrong. Woo! Go Sixers! Go Birds! TTP! TTP!