For nearly a decade, the conversation about what’s going on with the Sixers off the court has superseded actual discussions about basketball. With the Sixers’ regular season opener scheduled for next Wednesday, few Sixers fans, if any, are overly concerned about the team’s matchup with the Pelicans. It’s all about Ben Simmons, as it has been for many months and even years.
More news has poured out regarding Simmons and his clear desire to no longer play for the Sixers:
Sixers officials and Klutch CEO Rich Paul have progressed in talks over recent days on a resolution to bring All-Star Ben Simmons back to Philadelphia in the near future, sources tell ESPN. Discussions are ongoing.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 11, 2021
It feels like Klutch Sports has played themselves a bit here. Rich Paul, perhaps the most powerful figure in the entire sport, may have assumed a trade for Simmons would have been quickly resolved, but that’s obviously not the case. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that other front office executives around the league own a TV and were able to watch Simmons and the Sixers during the 2021 postseason.
Simmons’ hope to be the latest and greatest “superstar” to want out of his current situation has hit a road bump, perhaps 29 road bumps, as evident by this report:
Ben Simmons reportedly “would have no problem going to Sacramento” https://t.co/7a9Ku6aq1R— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) October 11, 2021
It had been said that Simmons wanted to play for a California team in a glamour market, settings that the Clippers, Lakers and, to a degree, the Warriors could provide. Well, you did say California, buddy! I recommend watching Lady Bird on your cross-country flight if you want to get a real picture of Sacramento.
Simmons’ relationship with the Sixers organization and his teammates seems broken beyond repair. The fact that both Simmons and Klutch are entertaining him coming back to the team boggles my mind. What?!? Is he just going to show up and sit on the sidelines the whole time? Will he practice? Will he dress in street clothes during games? Will the chorus of “FUCK BEN SIMMONS” chants from the Wells Fargo Center faithful have him leaving the building in the middle of the game?
All of this is to say... what does Ben Simmons want?
What is his goal? What is his true endgame here?
Is he going to attempt to create the most toxic environment as possible and cause unprecedented discord in the organization as he heads out the door? Is he going to be the ultimate troll and actually start jacking threes up every time he touches the ball, channeling shades of Andrew Bynum? Will he take it to another galaxy brain level and simply never attempt a shot at all if he actually suits up? Would his teammates freeze him out?
It’s the “Do I really look like a guy with a plan?” scene from The Dark Knight.
Even more so than what happens in the next week or so, what’s Simmons’ goal on a macro level?
His trade market clearly isn’t what he envisioned it to be. It seems like the teams who do have interest in him, namely Sacramento and Indiana, present the complete opposite vibe of the palm trees lining Southern California.
The majority of superstar trades basketball fans have seen over the last decade involve incredible players trying to switch teams in order to have a better chance of winning a championship. The issue for Simmons here is that he’s not a superstar on the level of Anthony Davis, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard. He’s not that type of league-altering talent. Given how dry a market he appears to have, it’s hard to imagine him going to a team that has a better chance of winning than the Sixers. That’s not to say the Sixers are top-tier championship contenders, but speaks to how small of chance it is that Simmons finds himself in a better landing spot.
One of the most cliched “Basketball Twitter” takes is to say that Simmons should have his “own” team “surrounded by shooters.” I wonder if he could find a team that has him flanked by Seth Curry, Danny Green, the best center in basketball turning himself into a stretch-five to placate him and a guy who shot almost 40 percent from deep last season...
Simmons is not Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is not this player who can drive to the rim at will and score. Hell, if he could even drive to the rim at will to begin with, he probably wouldn’t even attempt to put the ball in the net, a.k.a the point of the entire game of basketball. He’s simply Simmons.
I don’t know what Simmons wants in a team nor do I understand what his ultimate career goals are nor what he hopes to accomplish by continuing to look tone-deaf publicly. I want him gone from the Sixers before he even has time to figure it out.