It’s been an eventful year for former Sixers wing Jonathon Simmons. Back in February, he was the player portion of the return trade package in the deal sending Markelle Fultz to Orlando, unrealistically earning him the label in some fans’ eyes of ‘what the Sixers had left to show for the first overall pick’. Simmons was unable to carve out a role in Philadelphia, losing to James Ennis what Brett Brown dubbed the quiet tournament for playing time between those two and Furkan Korkmaz. Simmons would appear in only 15 regular season games for the Sixers and total 52 minutes of mostly mop-up duty during the playoffs.
Then, on draft night, the Sixers traded Simmons and the 42nd pick in the draft to Washington for a controversial young prospect: cash considerations. While everybody rightfully hates the practice of the team selling off draft picks, some fans reasoned that the deal at least helped create some minor cap space in a summer where every bit counted, while other fans ranted that the team could have stretched Simmons’ $1 million in guaranteed money to around $333k over each of the next three seasons, a negligible amount in many folks’ mind.
To top things off for Simmons, the Wizards released him on July 7, and he remains an NBA free agent. So what’s a guy to do who has God - Family - Basketball in his Twitter profile? Try to take home a share of $2 million in a winner-take-all, nationally televised tournament.
Over the weekend, Simmons linked up with the Overseas Elite squad, who were looking for their fifth consecutive The Basketball Tournament title and the $2 million grand prize (fellow former Sixer Drew Gordon was also on the squad). Jonathon signed up for a $100,000 share of the prize money if Overseas Elite was to once again win the championship.
In quarterfinal action on Friday, Simmons shot 3-for-9 from the field for 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in an 86-73 win over Loyalty is Love.
Jonathon Simmons picks his pocket and gets rewarded! #TBT2019 pic.twitter.com/tG3jTFzVbO— TBT (@thetournament) August 3, 2019
Unfortunately for Simmons and the rest of Overseas Elite, their bid for a five-peat ended yesterday afternoon with a 71-66 semifinal loss to Carmen’s Crew, a squad captained by Aaron Craft and largely consisting of Ohio State alumni. In 16 minutes off the bench, Simmons had 9 points on 4-for-8 shooting, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
The few months’ turnaround from NBA playoffs to TBT action shined a light on the depth problem Brett Brown faced with the Sixers’ roster last year. While The Basketball Tournament is good competition and I’m sure better game repetitions than whatever scrimmages go on at training facilities, it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia’s newly revamped bench jumping into similar action next summer (unless the Mike Scott Hive was there and told him there’d be jack-no-ice on hand if he played).
Anyway, no $100k for Simmons, but he still has the $1 million guaranteed from his most recent NBA contract, and we’ll likely see him at some NBA team’s training camp come the fall. For a man who first got his foot in the door at the professional level by paying $150 to attend an open tryout for San Antonio’s D-League team, I’m sure Simmons is not afraid of working his way from the ground up.