Philadelphia 76ers: When will the Ben Simmons situation come to an end?

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

It’s a day that ends in y, so you know what that means: Ben Simmons rumors.

I know, technically, this constant stream of business talk should be music to a sports writer’s ears, right? But honestly, at this point, it’s getting darn old.

… so, what is it? Which ghost team put in an offer for Simmons’ services that may or may not have happened? Or is it a new demand from Rich Paul and company that will surely drag a plotting offseason even further into the mud?

*sigh* where is Paul Reed when you need him?

Well, according to Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times, an NBA source expects Simmons to play for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020-21, as they aren’t planning on making a deal that would drop the team back in the standings and don’t presently have a viable offer that meets that criteria.

Hmm… well, okay then. Let’s assume for a moment that Mr. Moore is correct. Let’s assume that Simmons has accepted the very real possibility of spending the next half-decade in Cleveland, Sacramento, or Minnesota and has finally come to terms with the fact that rehabbing his image ever so slightly could actually help him get where he’d like to be.

Is this good news? In theory, it certainly should be. For all of the pressure Daryl Morey has to get a deal done before camp opens up – coming at him from both Rich Paul and the fanbase – it’s admirable that he’s willing to hold true to his laurels even if it makes more than a few folks unhappy. Give Simmons a few games to cleanse the NBA’s collective palate, and who knows, maybe a more attractive deal materializes with the Golden State Warriors, the Portland Trail Blazers, or another team who never quite pushed enough of their chips to the table.

But honestly? Is that really a good idea? Like, after an entire offseason with a foot out the door from both the team and the player, can the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons really patch things together and play nice, even if it’s just for a few weeks?

Will the Ben Simmons-Philadelphia 76ers situation ever end?

Can Ben Simmons be the point guard on a championship team? To quote Doc Rivers, “I don’t know the answer to that.”

For all of the things Simmons does well – his on-ball defense, his passing, his athletic dominance in the transition game – the Philadelphia 76ers have never quite been able to channel his talents into a consistently dominant winning formula; not while paired up with Joel Embiid, their franchise player, at least.

Is this on Simmons? Sort of. While Rivers certainly attempted to use his supersized point guard in a different way than his predecessor, Simmons’ lack of an outside offensive game severely hampered the team’s ability to field a complementary offense to Embiid’s bully ball efforts in the paint. While that could largely be overshadowed in the regular season, once the brighter lights of playoffs basketball started to cook down on the Wells Fargo Center, Simmons’ quirks became harder to hide, especially when he started to shy away from contact in general to avoid a potentially embarrassing trip to the line.

… then again, had Simmons not stepped up and made Trae Young‘s life considerably harder from Game 2 of the team’s playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, there’s a very real chance the Sixers wouldn’t have even made it to Game 7, let alone have a very real chance to secure the W on their home court.

Are there ways to build back better around a core of Simmons and Joel Embiid? Ways that the team hasn’t tried thus far? Most definitely. I’ve long wanted to see how Simmons would fare at the small forward position with a combo guard like Malcolm Brogdon or Lonzo Ball at the point, but to this point, that hasn’t happened yet, and at this point, it likely never will.

You see, when the team spent the entire offseason trying to trade Simmons for a perimeter scorer with a well-rounded offensive game, they never quite got around to establishing a contingency plan just in case Simmons’ market was brutally light. No, the team spent their summer not so secretly shopping Simmons’ max contract – which hasn’t even technically started yet – in search of someone better.

Did Simmons’ camp help to ease the move? No, no, they didn’t, but let’s be honest, if you were almost traded twice in the previous seasons and had your name linked to a dozen teams league-wide right after being thrown under a bus following a brutal loss, why would you play ball to help a team get better value? It’s not like Simmons playing ball won’t still result in him ending up in Cleveland if they submit the best offer.

Next. Would Daryl Morey actually trade Jaden Springer?. dark

No, as tough as it is to admit, the Philadelphia 76ers messed this situation up. They messed it up in the immediate aftermath of Game 7, they messed it up when they kept leaking trade offers all offseason long, and they messed it up when they didn’t submit the godfather offer for James Harden. While the threat of incredibly costly fines may just be enough to get Ben Simmons back in a Sixers uniform for a few games more, this situation is beyond repair, and keeping it in this weird interim status isn’t going to suddenly make things better. If anything, it’s just prolonging the inevitable and potentially risking yet another year of Joel Embiid’s prime.