It feels like just a matter of time before the Ben Simmons era in Philadelphia comes to a sudden close. The All-Star point guard has made it abundantly clear that he does not wish to wear a Philadelphia 76ers jersey ever again, and has requested the organization to trade him elsewhere. Despite the flack he catches on social media for his limited arsenal offensively, Simmons is still an All-Star caliber player with physical tools that are unmatched at the lead guard position. Does trading a player like Simmons signal the end of the storied “Process” in Philly?
Does The Ben Simmons Drama Signal The End of “The Process?”
Ben Simmons has concluded that he's done playing with Joel Embiid, sources tell @sam_amick.
While it's not personal, Simmons believes that playing around Embiid’s style isn’t conducive to the way he needs to play.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) September 28, 2021
Simmons’ Relationship With Joel Embiid
Part 1: If Joel Embiid had gotten the chance to sit with Ben Simmons, what would he have said to him? pic.twitter.com/80hdcfj5Qt
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) September 27, 2021
Ben Simmons has ‘mentally checked out’ as a member of the 76ers, per @ShamsCharania
“Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle — and most of the team were set to take a jet to see Simmons before being turned away.” pic.twitter.com/kMMmkyckOy
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) September 25, 2021
Earlier this week, Simmons stated that he is done playing alongside Joel Embiid, feeling that his game is limited to Philly’s desire to play through the big man. The two have been at the helm of the Sixers rebuild since 2016, and the two have elevated the franchise to sitting amongst the titans of the Eastern Conference. However, the team has stagnated, and much of that is largely due to Simmons’ inability to grow as a player. The best you can ask for in the NBA is consistency, and while Simmons has been that his whole career, it has placed a ceiling on this franchise for quite some time now.
Embiid confirmed reports this week that a handful of Sixers players made the trip to Los Angeles to speak with Simmons, but Simmons turned them away. This situation is rising to soap opera levels of drama, which is far from uncommon in today’s NBA landscape, but something has to give sooner or later.
While Embiid is far from the most liked character in the NBA by the fans, he did manage to adjust to the Aussie’s playstyle when the two were paired. He stretched his game out to the three-point line, developed an above-average mid-range game, and learned to operate from the high post at an elite level. He made adjustments for his teammate, whereas Simmons has not done so for Embiid.
What is Simmons’ Value Around The League?
Beyond all else, Simmons is still a very valuable player in today’s NBA. An elite defender and playmaker, Simmons can facilitate an offense, get out on the fastbreak, and can guard just about any position on the floor. So what is the rush to move on from this guy? The Process, as it is, has run its course, and it’s time for the two sides to go their separate ways. While the Sixers look to seek the most valuable return package from potential buyers, what exactly is Simmons’ value?
This will greatly impact Philly’s next direction as they could repackage the team around Embiid and retool the roster while being competitive. Or, this could be the end of the process and Philly starts to clean house. We could sit here and break down trade destinations for hours, but it has been relatively tough to gauge Simmons’ next home.
Though the immediate favorite to land the Aussie, the Golden State Warriors have all but pulled out of the sweepstakes as they do not believe his style will mesh with the Splash Bros, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. There have been rumblings about talk with the Portland Trail Blazers, where the Sixers have been asking for Damian Lillard, but would more than likely be receiving a CJ McCollum-centered package.
Many of the teams around the NBA that are left in the Simmons sweepstakes are at a rebuilding stage in their timeline, so the return may not be as desired as a blockbuster All-Star swap that other franchises have to offer.
What If Simmons Stays?
Head coach Doc Rivers has gone back on his earlier remarks regarding Simmons role with the team that he stated back in the playoffs, as he publicly stated that he is unsure if the franchise point guard can lead a championship team. This started the domino effect that has brought us to this very moment in the timeline. Simmons’ own head coach voiced his distrust in one of his best players, in one of the largest sports markets in the country, and is is clear Simmons has no desire to play for Rivers ever again.
Rivers tried to do damage control on ESPN’s First Take, as he told Stephen A. Smith that he would “love” to have Simmons back in Philly, despite not sounding all that genuine. The organization does not appear to be in any rush to move the former LSU point guard, as training camp began this past week and the new season just under three weeks.
If Simmons were to magically change his perspective and give the Sixers another shot, and the team heads into the new year with this revamped roster, they are among the Eastern Conference’s best, but are they quite a contender? Is it worth running it back with the possibility of finish in a territory that is all too familiar for the organization? These are questions that both Simmons and the franchise must ask themselves with the hourglass that is “The Process” running low on sand.
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