Opinion: The Sixers Need to Wake Up and Trade Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks toward the net during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

At what point do the Philadelphia 76ers and their management wake up and realize that the time to trade Ben Simmons is now? Not today, just prior to the February 10th trade deadline.

At a time when the city of Philadelphia has inept management through all of its major sports teams, the Sixers could jump over them all with one good move. Any move that gets Ben Simmons out of Philadelphia would, realistically, be a good movie, but I understand that we’re not looking for a trade value of pennies on the dollar for Simmons.

Lately, his name has become more focused in deals with the Sacramento Kings, and last week the reports were that the Detroit Pistons had made a substantial offer for the vacationing superstar.

When the Philadelphia Phillies have made the best moves to improve their team over the past couple of years, you know that there’s a problem in the management of the other three teams.

Daryl Morey, as recently as last week, stated that it seems less likely that a Simmons deal would be done prior to the trading deadline but, given the MVP caliber play of center Joel Embiid, it does make his asking price a little different than he’s maintained since all of this nonsense started back in June.

To say that Embiid has been playing at an MVP level is like saying Allen Iverson kind of liked to shoot the ball. Embiid has been out of this world good over the past few weeks, and despite the numbers he’s been putting up, he didn’t even win the Player of the Week last week. Trae Young was your Eastern Conference winner despite Embiid putting up a stat line of 40 points per game to go along with 11.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. All of that was in 31.1 minutes per game over the four games played the past week. Tell me there’s a more dominating player in the league right now or over the past month.

So, where does that leave us with the GM of the Sixers? He’s explained that he doesn’t want to waste away Embiid and the dominance he’s showing. Yet, he still holds out hope of Ben Simmons returning and playing for the Sixers.

That type of delusion is insane to possess as the General Manager of a professional sports franchise. Simmons has made it clear that he doesn’t and will not ever want to play for the Sixers franchise again. While Morey is holding out hope that Simmons will come back and relegate the offense to a 4 on 5 again, disrupting all that the team has become so far, Simmons has been in England getting engaged? Getting tattoos? Nowhere near the court for the Sixers.

All of this while he’s supposedly battling “mental health issues.” I, in no way, would give anyone a hard time for dealing with those types of issues, but it seemed awfully convenient when the rationale for not playing in Philly was Embiid, and he don’t mix. He doesn’t like the coach, the team isn’t centered on him, etc. to all of a sudden, he’s battling mental health issues. It’s too convenient, and it’s embarrassing to anyone that’s truly battling issues like that. Simmons will not play for the Sixers. He’s started it, and his actions show that he means it. So why hold on to him?

Why say that you still hold out hope? James Harden? Really? That’s the name that you’re holding out for? Your old pal from your Houston days who just so happens to have a good relationship with you and the owner of the team?

Let me remind you all, James Harden has never won a thing. The Nets are 29-17 and only slightly above the Sixers in the Eastern Conference rankings. They’ve faced some hardships, especially with Kyrie Irving sitting out most of the season except for seven games up to this point. But they’re not blowing away the competition. Harden hasn’t led a team to the NBA Championship nor really close to one his entire time in the league.

Now, he’s going to be the savior of Philadelphia basketball? At what expense? The development of Tyrese Maxey? The scoring of Seth Curry? The overall quality of team basketball that the Sixers have played with all season while not having to cater to Simmons and his need to be some sort of non-shooting focal point of an offense?

This team, while still being just the fifth-ranked team in the Eastern Conference, has come a long way from the start of the year when people were wondering who would take Simmons’ place or how they would be able to survive not having the three-time All-Star on the roster. They’ve seen Maxey develop into a young star. They’ve watched Curry shoot the lights out. Georges Niang? Vital part and a huge team guy. Furkan Korkmaz? Getting time and shots has helped solidify the investment they made in him over the past summer. Even Tobias Harris, who’s having a “down year,” is still averaging 18.2 points per game to go along with 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Short of a few assists, that’s a Simmons year. Well, not last year when he fell apart, but the years prior.

This team has become so much more than Simmons and Embiid. They’ve developed character and are feeding off the strength of the most dominant center and player in the league.

So, why wait until the summer for the “better” deal to come along, as has been reported lately? It’s a disservice to the team, its true superstar, its TEAM players, its coaches, and the fans.

Morey, for the past twenty years, has developed a career as an NBA executive. From his time as a VP of Operations with the Boston Celtics to his time as GM of the Houston Rockets, right up to and including his time here in Philadelphia. But, what has he accomplished? Where are the titles? Where are the rings? Where are the trophies?
You can’t turn the clock back five years and get that James Harden. He’s older and can still play at a high level, but for how long? It’s time to stop fantasizing about what may have been years ago in Houston. Let the Harden dream just be one of those good “what ifs.”

Ben Simmons has made it clear that he won’t play for the Sixers ever again. So, forget about him and do for the team what should have been done a few months ago. Ship him out of town. If it’s Sacramento and you get players like Barnes, Fox, or Haliburton in return, that would be amazing. Dejounte Murray from San Antonio? Perfect. Even Detroit sending Bey, Olynyk, and Grant would have been fine. All of that would add to the team and help give Joel Embiid, Maxey, Curry, and the rest of the team a better chance of winning an NBA title in the next year or two.

To sit and hold out from trading Simmons in some sort of adult, sports version of chicken is insanity at its best and completely negligible as an executive. Do what’s right, get rid of Ben Simmons, and get rid of him before the NBA Trade Deadline. Give the players on the team the chance to win this year.

You’re boy Meek Mill said he had to grind like this to shine like this. It’s time to put in the work, Daryl, because the dream of Simmons coming back has turned into a nightmare.