It is now known that Ben Simmons has returned to Philadelphia. But there’s no clear sign yet the All-Star guard is set to rescind his trade request and actually play for the 76ers.
Even coach Doc Rivers — publicly, at least — says he’s unsure of the status of the trade demand, the latest wrinkle in the on-again-off-again relationship between Simmons and the Sixers.
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“I don’t know. He’s voiced that, but we’ll see how that works out,” Rivers said Wednesday at team practice.
Rivers stated that Simmons was “great, he’s good”, but it seems unlikely Simmons would rescind his request. This Tuesday came a day after Simmons, the former All-Star, showed up at the arena to complete a COVID-19 testing.
Rivers stated that Simmons would be returning to practice on Wednesday night for an individual work out. Simmons will then not be allowed to practice until he has completed the NBA safety and health protocols.
If Simmons is ever able to return to the game, that would be.
That’s still a big if for the Sixers, especially with one more preseason game Friday at Detroit before next week’s season opener at New Orleans. Simmons might be in New Orleans to make sure he doesn’t get punished, just like Marshawn Lynn at Super Bowl Media Day. The 25-year-old from Australia has four years and $147 million left on his max contract — though the 76ers placed in escrow $8.25 million due to the guard, and fines for missing games and practices could be subtracted from that amount.
Rivers turned 60 Wednesday and said that he would like Simmons to play.
“I’m assuming he’s going to play, but who knows? I can’t get in anyone’s head,” Rivers said.
Rivers said he hasn’t ruled out Simmons traveling with the team to Detroit.
“Whether we play him or not, that’s going to depend on what we see this week,” Rivers said. “He’s coming from behind, because he hasn’t been in camp, obviously. Do you hurry him to the ground and place him there? That’s a whole other subject. We see that this week we can decide how to move forward.
Simmons missed training camp and the preseason so far in the wake of his offseason trade demand that rankled some teammates, raised the wrath of fans and left many puzzled why he wants off last season’s No. The Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.
Rivers and Sixers President Daryl Morey have publicly hoped that Simmons will play for them again since the beginning of training camp.
Simmons was the No. The No. 1 draft pick in 2016, Simmons was paired with Joel Embiid to form the franchise’s cornerstones, as the Sixers seek their first NBA title since 1983. The Sixers drafted him from LSU where he only played one season. His averages were 15.9 points and 7.7 assists in four seasons.
Should Simmons return, Simmons’ potential problems in the locker-room were downplayed by the Sixers. Starting players Danny Green and Seth Curry both stated Wednesday they have not spoken with Simmons in the past week but that Simmons would be a welcome return.
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He is our hero. Green declared that we want him to be with us. “When he’s in the building, we’ll acclimate him appropriately. “We just want everyone to show up, be there, and do their job.
Added Curry: “I’ll be able to see when he steps on the floor where his head’s at. I don’t feel like he needs to explain anything to me.”
Talk to Sixers fans; they can’t wait for answers.