Guess who’s back… Back again. Simmons’s back. Tell GMs.
Disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons has returned to the 76ers after holding out for a trade all of training camp, reportedly being fined by the team and having 25% of his salary withheld from him in total.
While his appearance was certainly a surprise to everyone watching the preseason game between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, it aligns with what so many players and coaches have said through the Sixers in that they just want him back in Philadelphia.
The question remains though, what does this mean for the 76ers? What kind of attitude does Simmons bring into the locker room? Does his arrival stunt the growth of fellow Rich Paul client Tyrese Maxey? Are the Sixers proof that we all live in a simulation or reality TV show?
In all seriousness, Ben Simmons does bring a whole lot of baggage to this team. Most nights, he’s sitting 6 feet away from the players who tried to reach out, only for him to turn them away. He’s playing basketball with coworkers who had tried to defend him many, many times, only for him to ignore their phone calls. The Simmons situation has the potential to be just as toxic as the Harden situation and just as damaging to the chemistry of a team ready to compete.
On the other side of that coin is that there is a possibility that Simmons shows up and just plays his game. He has another potential DPOY level year, and he just stays silent about the trade request other than talking to the front office about it. With so much uncertainty, it’s hard to find things to be certain about.
In this case, there are two absolutes to this Ben Simmons situation. Absolute number one: Ben Simmons has not improved his weaknesses and will not show a lot of growth. Einstein once said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
We, as a fanbase, have gone through this insanity before with Simmons. Flashes of what he could be during the season, a few great streaks post-All-Star break, a disappointing playoff, off-season videos of Ben shooting in an empty gym, and then the cycle starts over. This is who Simmons is.
The second absolute is that Ben Simmons won’t be a Philadelphia 76er through the end of his contract. Either Simmons will be traded this year before the trade deadline if Morey has the right trade come across his desk, or Simmons will be traded next off-season.
Both options require some internal and external factors that need to happen. Internally, we would love it if Simmons could rebuild his trade value and help us make a win-win trade that both gets him to a different team and helps us improve. Externally, we would love for Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard to get upset with their roster construction or their organizations and demand a trade to get out.
Overall, Simmons’ return to the 76ers organization is a beneficial one, both allowing for the Sixers to have access to one of their best players while allowing Simmons to potentially rebuild his trade value to get him to a preferred location. Ultimately, Ben Simmons returning to the 76ers is not an end-all solution to the Ben Simmons saga that we are currently living, but it is a step forward in the tricky situation that the team is in.