Instead of focusing on the game that went down to the wire against the NBA’s best team, the Philadelphia 76ers postgame press conference was all trade deadline talk.
Reasonably so, as the Sixers’ second-highest paid player is still refusing to come back to the court until he is dealt away. In his absence, the team discussed the balance of heavy trade rumors swirling every time they come in for work.
“Trade rumors are always eerie for guys around the NBA,” Tobias Harris, someone who has spent almost his entire career in rumored trades, said. “That has an impact on guys’ psyche, mental, all the way down the line.”
How players cope with being mentioned in rumors is different for everybody. Harris will be checking Twitter feverishly until Thursday’s deadline.
“For the next couple days I’ll be refreshing Adrian Wojnarowski’s tweets, and Shams, like everybody else.”
Head coach Doc Rivers is looking forward to the closure that will come — for this year’s Sixers team anyway — when the deadline passes.
“Yeah, yeah, absolutely, especially this year because of the situation we’re in and I know our guys are NBA players and all that but they’re human,” Rivers said, “every single guy goes to bed tonight thinking it might be their last night [on the team] and that’s tough.”
Matisse Thybulle is a name that has come up often in rumors of a potential Ben Simmons-for-James Harden trade with the Brooklyn Nets. He too is looking forward to having the uncertainty put to rest.
“Yeah, I think a couple of us will finally be able to breathe,” he said.
Unlike Harris, Thybulle won’t be constantly updating Twitter over the next day or so.
“You can compartmentalize. A lot of it is self-imposed, you choose to see it.”
Thybulle said instead of constantly looking for his name in rumors, he’ll spend the next couple of days on self care: reading, drawing, and going on walks.
Someone who definitely won’t be on the move in the next two days is Joel Embiid. Embiid was asked if he would reach out to Simmons should he still be a Sixer come Friday. The big fella reiterated his stance that he will be supportive of whoever shows up, but it is not his job to bring Simmons back to the team.