A lot has been made over the past week about LSU forward Ben Simmons declining to workout with any NBA team, but more specifically about his supposed rejection of the Philadelphia 76ers. People have been doing their best to try and spin it like Simmons has no interest in playing in Philadelphia, but time and time again that logic just fails to hold water. ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the 76ers brass met with Simmons and his agent Rich Paul in Cleveland before Game 6 of the NBA Finals Thursday night.
ESPN sources say that the Sixers had their first face-to-face meeting Thursday with presumptive No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons on Thursday.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 17, 2016
The Sixers, sources say, had all of their key people in Cleveland on Thursday to have dinner with Simmons and agent Rich Paul before Game 6.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 17, 2016
Those key people likely included general manager Bryan Colangelo, vice player of personnel Marc Eversley and head coach Brett Brown, among others.
More from Stein's ESPN.com article:
The Sixers, sources said, came away impressed by the 20 pounds of muscle Simmons is said to have added to his physique since the end of the college season and viewed the meeting as the start of "building a relationship" with the player they are strongly expected to select ahead of Duke's Brandon Ingram with the first pick next week.
Thursday's sitdown did not include any basketball work, but sources say that the Sixers are to date the only team that has been granted direct access to Simmons in the lead-up to the draft.
Simmons working out for the Sixers was never important; they know what he can do on the court. Having the opportunity to learn about who he is as a person by sitting down and talking with him was always the important aspect, and the Sixers seemed to have accomplished that on Thursday night. It seems like Simmons has been the guy for the Sixers all along, and come June 23, Philadelphia will most likely select him first overall. We'll just have to wait four more years before the rumors start up again about him pushing his way to Los Angeles.