Boy oh boy, how did we get here?
The NBA season is just a few short weeks away and the Philadelphia 76ers are still embroiled with the most unnecessarily dramatic storyline of the offseason with no end in sight. Ben Simmons has officially requested a trade and has stated his willingness to sit out until it happens, the team doesn’t want to get the short end of the stick in a trade and the fans are left in the middle, unsatisfied by it all.
There are so many questions that have to be answered before opening night when it comes to the Sixers, the biggest obviously being whether or not Simmons will start the year as a member of the team. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, it has become painfully obvious that a change needs to be made. To be completely transparent, I am tired. I am tired of having to pretend Simmons is something that he has shown us time and time again that he’s not. I am tired of waiting for him to take “the leap to true superstardom.” Most of all, I am tired of having to pretend that he is the star that will give Joel Embiid, the player who deserves an NBA Championship more than anyone else in the league, the best chance to reach that pinnacle.
The team doesn’t seem to have a chance to trade Simmons for a superstar at this very moment. While the thought of trading away a player once thought to be a franchise cornerstone for assets not at that level will hurt, it is the most logical decision at this point in time. The Sixers are still in a spot where if they do trade Simmons for multiple future assets and younger players they can take advantage of a situation where another superstar potentially requests out of a bad situation. The game that the team is playing with Simmons is a very dangerous one that can end extremely poorly if things don’t go their way — but it doesn’t have to be.
More than anything I just want this whole situation to be over with. Having to listen to sports talk personalities bring up this situation every day — after it feels like the city went through the exact same thing just a few months ago with the Philadelphia Eagles QB drama — has grown old very quickly. If a player who refuses to improve deficiencies in his game after a five-year window of begging from the team wants to get traded because of “unfair treatment,” that’s their choice. With that in mind, the team needs to make sure it does what’s best for the team and recoup as many assets as possible, regardless of the destination.
If Simmons doesn’t want to try to be anything more than a bench player come playoff time, I really hope he doesn’t expect the Sixers to try and work out a trade with a team that fills his desperate need to be around sunshine and palm trees. Simmons and his crew want this to be all business? Fine, enjoy your time in Cleveland or Minnesota, hopefully that’s where you can properly “rehab your trade value.”
The quicker this situation ends the better, fans don’t want to have to slug through another season like the one after the infamous Al Horford-Josh Richardson summer of 2019. As long as Simmons is still on the team there is going to be a sense of uneasiness watching games. The minute this entire situation is in the rearview mirror is the minute that fans can go back to what’s most important — the product on the court. Ben Simmons fatigue is real, and after five full years of fans having to talk themselves into him being the answer, it’s nice to realize that won’t have to be the case (hopefully) soon enough.