NBA guard Ben Simmons has “mentally checked out,” and he reportedly has no more brotherly love for Philadelphia or his 76ers teammates anymore.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, a cadre of Simmons’ 76ers teammates were set to board a flight to Los Angeles with the hopes of changing his mind. Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and others were looking to bring the 2018 Rookie of the Year back into the fold. However, sources informed Charania that Simmons’ reps told them don’t waste their time.
After his poor showing in the 2021 playoffs, Simmons was scapegoated for the Sixers’ collapse. Philly fans were immediately vocal about getting him out of town, and even coach Doc Rivers wasn’t sure Simmons had what it takes to be an All-Star guard for a championship-caliber team anymore. NBA great Shaquille O’Neal said, “if he [Simmons] was in my locker room, I would have knocked his ass out.”
So the Sixers tried shopping around to see if any other team was interested in Simmons’ services. But with four years and $147 million remaining on his contract, the surly guard has proven hard to move. At one point, Philly’s front office was in talks with the Golden State Warriors and appeared to have a deal in play. But the steep price of Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, both of Golden State’s 2021 first-round draft picks, and two future first-round picks proved to be too much, and that offer was flatly refused.
Rumors are that he will not report to training camp and is willing to sit out the season rather than ever play one more game for Philly. And Simmons is due to be paid $33 million this season and making $40.3 million by 2024-25.
Simmons allegedly blames the Sixers front office and Rivers for the whole debacle. Apparently, he believes that the organization should have disciplined Doc for doubting his ability to contend anymore. At this point, he wants to go to any California team that isn’t the Sacramento Kings. And Simmons even plunked down $17.5 million on a Los Angeles mansion to prove his point.
But Doc hasn’t given up hope and thinks he can right the ship before the team’s season opener on Wednesday, October. 20. “There’s times that I think we’re getting through,” he said about reaching out to Simmons, “and there’s times that I think I’m talking to people who still believe Trump won the election.”
Rivers has even become more direct about mending fences with the guard. “I can tell you up front, we would love to get Ben back, and if we can, we’re going to try to do that,” he said, according to FOX News. “Ben has a long contract, so it’s in our hands and we want him back.”
Here’s how Twitter reacted when Simmons realized he wanted to leave the Philadelphia 76ers: