The Ben Simmons holdout presumably came to an end last night, with the former first overall pick showing up unexpectedly at the Wells Fargo Center as if he had just been a little late to join the team due to car trouble. Then, he met with team executives at the practice facility today, and will reportedly take a physical to start the process of rejoining the team:
Source says Ben Simmons met with Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey today— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 12, 2021
I’m told Ben is going through the process to rejoin the Sixers, including taking a physical pic.twitter.com/Zcq1l2WJuj
So if Simmons actually does the improbable and rejoins the team, the question naturally arises, do you even want Ben back playing for the Sixers?
Sixers team leaders like Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid have consistently maintained that they hope Simmons rejoins the team. “We’re a better team with him than without him, that’s for sure,” Embiid said just yesterday. In a vacuum, of course, this is true. Ben is a three-time All-Star and legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. You’d be foolish to turn away such a player’s services.
But we wouldn’t be living in a vacuum; we’d be living in a post-Ben Simmons holdout world. Fans are going to boo him mercilessly at home games. Every night, his coach and teammates are going to have to answer Ben-related questions that aren’t related to on-court X’s and O’s. Guys can say they’re professionals and ready to move on, but it has to be awkward to play with someone who wouldn’t even return your calls this summer. It’d be crazy to ignore the possibility that the whole thing could be a huge distraction that greatly affects the team’s performance in a negative way. You also have to imagine Ben wouldn’t be 100 percent engaged and playing at his highest level on the court.
After watching the Positive Good Vibes Sixers this preseason without Ben, part of me wonders if the team wouldn’t be better off with him back in Los Angeles. Surround Embiid with four willing shooters like we saw against Brooklyn and let the good times roll, free of the Ben Simmons baggage.
Then, there’s the question of Ben’s trade value, whether or not he returns. In a report from The Athletic’s Sam Amick yesterday, he speculated a return to action could benefit Simmons’s value:
“If you’re someone who’s heading a front office and contemplating a four-year partnership with him, you may want an updated sense of both his game and the psyche that has become such a massive part of the conversation that surrounds him. Especially after his ill-fated finish in the playoffs.”
Under this thought process, Atlanta was one series and Ben was going through some difficult things in his personal life at the time. Now, remind everyone of what Ben Simmons, the basketball player, brings to the table, put the Hawks series further in the past, and watch the improved offers roll in.
Of course, an obvious flip side exists. What if the struggles aren’t in the past? What if we’re looking at some version of the yips? Not only would Simmons’ dip in performance against Atlanta be on his resume, but it could suddenly become his status quo, with not even the idea of Ben Simmons, premium regular season floor raiser, in opposing executives’ minds. We have joked that his trade value couldn’t get any worse, but in reality, it could. Plus, the possibility of injury always exist, and would likely be slightly higher for a guy who didn’t go through the majority of training camp as a needed ramp-up for the season. The last thing the Sixers would want when shopping Simmons is a physical impediment to add to the Amazon description.
As much of the Simmons situation has been, things are complicated. So where do you fall? Do you want Ben to take the court, play through the awkwardness and boos and maybe help the Sixers win some additional games while improving his trade value? Or do you want him to hop on a flight back to California, let the younger guys get extended run, and just wait for some team to fall into a hole in the standings and decide the risk is worth the potential reward in a trade? Let us know below.
Do you want Ben Simmons to retake the court with the Sixers?
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