Much like the rest of the NBA world, Danny Green doesn’t know what will happen with Ben Simmons.
The veteran 3-and-D wing spoke to reporters Thursday for the first time since re-signing with the Sixers on a two-year deal. While he spoke glowingly of the team’s foundation — including Simmons — and referenced that as a big part of the reason for his return, he’s acutely aware of the reports swirling around.
Given how rough the ending to Simmons’ season was and his name perpetually listed in trade rumors, Green thought it was best to give his teammate space.
It’s been a busy time for Green — given his free agency and the fact that his wedding is in two days — but he said he’ll make an effort to touch base with Simmons soon.
“I was just trying to give him his space,” Green said. “I know a lot of people, the media is on his head, a lot of people talking about him. Ben’s not a text type of guy, so I sent a text to him and he’ll respond a little later randomly, but he’s more of a FaceTime type of guy. I haven’t spoken to him in a little while. Haven’t been able to FaceTime him.
“I had free agency and the wedding, I didn’t know where I was going to be at. … But I will make it a point [to reach out]. I know Dwight [Howard] has talked to him, I talked to Dwight recently. … Said he saw [Simmons] out in L.A. working out. But I will FaceTime him in the coming weeks after this wedding is over. I’ll be out in L.A., I built my house there, I’ll be able to check on him.”
Green, now the elder statesman of the Sixers at 34, had plenty of uncertainty of his own heading into the offseason. While teams from the Nets to the Hornets reached out, Green still felt like his best opportunity to get a fair deal while still being on a competitive team was in Philadelphia.
Now that the dust has settled and Green knows he’ll be back for his second season with the Sixers, it’s about time to reconnect with Simmons … after his wedding, of course.
“I think with Ben, his personality, it was the right move to give him some space early on,” Green said. “Hopefully, have him refresh, get a new mind-state, a new frame of mind, and then have a conversation later on. He’s at that time now. He’s been in L.A., he’s been relaxed. There’s so many things going on. The media is not thinking about just him anymore or his wrongs or his mishaps or his flaws. …
“Hopefully that time has given him time to heal. It’s not about healing physically, it’s more mentally and emotionally to where he can refresh himself, reset and come in and re-identify himself.”
The reports of a Simmons trade haven’t strictly come from the Sixers’ side of things. There have been mixed reports ranging from Simmons being agreeable to a trade to him wanting out of Philadelphia.
As someone who’s been traded and been forced to change addresses quite a few times, Green can understand that feeling. Still, he thinks there’s an opportunity for Simmons to reinvent himself here.
“Maybe that’s why you hear the rumors of him wanting to be somewhere else,” Green said. “Maybe he felt like he couldn’t re-identify himself here. He can do it better in another city. But that’s not always true. You can come back in the city that you play in. You can come back a totally different player. You have more time off this summer to work on some things, reset your mindset, reset yourself, and hopefully come back a stronger player or different player.”
While Green wants to remain teammates with Simmons, he understands if the 25-year-old would rather move on.
“Hopefully he stays with us,” Green said, “but if he doesn’t, he can reinvent himself and show that he can shoot the midrange or become a better free throw shooter — whatever it may be.”
If Simmons is back, we’ll see if he is able to “re-identify” himself and change his legacy as a Sixer.