The Philadelphia 76ers came into the current campaign with a plethora of expectations on their shoulders after a disappointing end to a promising season last year. The 76ers finished atop the Eastern Conference standings during the regular season, only to be kicked out in the second round of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks. That is also where the drama surrounding the team’s superstar point guard Ben Simmons began.
Simmons really struggled to make his shots in the series against Atlanta and when questioned after it by members of the media, head coach Doc Rivers didn’t sound too confident that the 76ers could be successful with the 25-year-old as their starting point guard. Since then, it has been a wild ride with Simmons requesting a trade and refusing to play for the 76ers.
Despite all the drama surrounding the situation though, Rivers confirmed that he has recently spoken to Simmons.
“He’s doing good,” said Rivers, via USA Today. “And, yes, I have talked to him recently.”
He went on to suggest he doesn’t have any idea when the player will be returning to the court and whether he has made any progress while being away from the team.
“I don’t know any of that,” Rivers continued. “That’s the stuff that I’ve intentionally stayed out of. I have enough on my plate. I don’t feel like I’ve needed to add that.”
The 76ers have struggled to match the success they had in the regular season last year without the Australian in the lineup. He was selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and was expected to be a core part of the squad for years to come. That doesn’t seem like it’ll be the case anymore.
There have been a plethora of rumors circulating as to where Simmons could be traded and what exactly the 76ers are seeking in return. However, NBA Insider Marc Stein recently revealed on his Spotify Greenroom Podcast that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of talk surrounding Simmons these days among NBA executives.
“I have to say, just having spent three days in the gym with lots of NBA executives, I heard so little about Ben Simmons in Vegas. Just remarkably little,” Stein revealed.
“That just illustrates, to me, just what a secondary thing trade pursuits are at the moment whereas normally, I think in that kind of environment, even if there was nothing happening with Ben, just kind of Ben predictions would have been flying around the gym and you just really didn’t get much of that.”
There has been plenty of speculation that the 76ers’ asking price is too high for the point guard, who has made it clear he doesn’t want to play in Philadelphia anymore. It remains to be seen how the whole scenario will play out, but fans of the 76ers are desperately hoping a solution can be found. Whether Simmons returns to play for Philadelphia or is traded away for other players or assets, the 76ers could certainly use the help.