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Joel Embiid & teammates wanted to fly out to visit Ben Simmons, turned away; T-Wolves still in play

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Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Seven Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

We received a pair of reports Saturday afternoon on the Ben Simmons trade-front. With Simmons reportedly planning to hold out, and the team hoping to convince him to play for them again, the status quo recently has been some sort of stalemate. Well, there’s been an update. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, several members of the Sixers wanted to fly out to visit the former number one overall pick, currently residing in California.

Per Shams:

“The core leaders on the 76ers — such as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle — and most of the team were set to take a jet to see Simmons before being turned away, sources said. Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade.

The 76ers’ training camp begins this upcoming week, with Media Day on Monday.

Simmons has mentally checked out as a member of the 76ers, sources said, meaning whether or not he ever appears in Philadelphia this season the organization may never again receive the same dedicated player....

Philadelphia has no trade imminent, although teams are calling, according to sources.”

Teammates wanting to visit Simmons’ home in California to clear the air and let him know how much he means to their title hopes is an important step at least from the team side. It implies that they really are open to having him back. Simmons’ camp, on the other hand, doesn’t seem willing to meet in the middle. Turning away even a face-to-face meet-up, would suggest Simmons has no interest in even hearing what they might say.

Perhaps it’s a sign of courtesy, as in “listen I know we’re friends but don’t bother, I just don’t want to return.” Perhaps it’s not. But either way, the update won’t make Daryl Morey and Elton Brand’s job of trying to return fair trade value any easier.

We also received an update on the Timberwolves situation. Earlier in the week, it came out that Minnesota was moving on from President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. It left many Sixers fans wondering how that might impact the Timberwolves’ standing as the team most intrigued with adding Simmons.

According to SKOR North contributor, Darren Wolfson, a former Process legend, Sachin Gupta, who has taken over as team Prez of the Wolves is “all in” on acquiring Simmons. So it sounds like they’re still very much interested in trading for Simmons, despite the change of leadership.

Sixers fans will of course recognize the name, Gupta. Gupta, who created the ESPN Trade Machine, was a top lieutenant of former team President Sam Hinkie. They, along with Founder Ben Falk, formed a triumvirate that oversaw the drafting of Joel Embiid, and a few of the NBA’s greatest trades of the last decade. The picks swapped. Morey himself once noted that the Sixers failing to keep folks like Falk in-house led to loads of crucial information being spread to the general public and to teams that weren’t as clever as Philly or Houston at the time.

I can only imagine how Sam Hinkie would feel reading that one of his top consiglieres is now a team Prez looking to trade with his former Rockets’ boss Daryl Morey, now running the Sixers, discussing a trade involving one of the Processes’ crown jewels. It reads like a movie script for NBA uber-nerds.

It’s not a great situation for the Sixers. It would have been better to hear that Simmons was at least open to meeting up with his current teammates. Sometimes it seems that everything that happens and everything that is said makes Daryl Morey’s job more difficult.

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