The drama that has surrounded the Philadelphia 76ers future of star player Ben Simmons has barely paused for a break all summer. It appears that we may be moving into the latter stages of the situation though, with the 25-year-old apparently cutting off all communication with the team.
The Australian is now only talking to the 76ers organization via his agent, which is never a good sign, and the chances of an exit from the Wells Fargo Center looking increasingly likely. It’s impossible to stress just how important Simmons, even when he’s having an off-day, is to his team. If he were to leave, as seems likely, then you can guarantee that the Philadelphia 76ers NBA betting odds would take a nosedive. They currently sit around (+1600) and this will lengthen if they lose the Melbourne-born talent.
Simmons, still reeling from being something of a scapegoat for the 76ers poor playoff showing, clearly wants out and there is no shortage of offers for his services. This has no doubt had the result of turning the head of a player who may want to try out a new location after four seasons in Philadelphia.
Things have gotten so bad that Simmons has even stopped fielding calls from his team-mates, including Joel Embiid who is said to have attempted to broker some sort of truce between the player and the team.
Trade talks have been ongoing for some weeks and barely a day goes by without another outfit taking an interest in Simmons. By all accounts he’s open to a move to California but doesn’t want to move to Toronto or Portland.
Things haven’t looked great ever since Simmons left the court after the 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in conference semifinals, coming after a great regular season which saw Philadelphia finish first in the Eastern, a feat they have not achieved since 2001.
When Simmons spoke after that defeat, it was clear he was hurting;
“We lost, it sucks, I am who I am, it is what it is, it’s not easy to win…first thing I’m going to do is clear my mind and get my mental right.”
Indeed, he may still be hurting and it’s going to take quite a big turnaround to imagine Simmons will be back on the court with the 76ers next season.
It may now be a case of who jumps first, either the 76ers will look to get as good a deal as possible for the three-time All-Star or Simmons will force their hand in some way.
The 76ers already saw Dwight Howard leave for the Lakers and on his way out he couldn’t resist making a sly dig at Simmons, posting on Instagram;
“To my brothers. This year we came up short,” said Howard before departing for LA. “But we had an amazing season. Thank you to the entire 76er staff. We will always be family. And Ben. Bend ya kneeeesss”
Currently the most likely destination Simmons will be heading is towards the Miami Heat, but this could rumble on until the trade window slams shut.