The Ben Simmons-Philadelphia 76ers saga has raged on for the better part of four months now, but after what seemed like an irresolvable stalemate between both sides, progress is being made.
After Simmons held out for the entirety of the team’s training camp, and all four preseason games, the team fined the 25-year-old for missed time. He eventually reported to Philadelphia, but after just one practice (which he completed with his phone in his pocket), Simmons was suspended by the team and amidst rumors of back stiffness and mental health concerns, it was clear that he was not ready to play.
Fellow Sixers star Joel Embiid initially ripped Simmons for his behavior, but after his teammate was loudly booed by Philadelphia fans, he quickly changed his tune. Urging fans to “continue to support us and our teammate Ben, cause he’s still our brother,” Embiid’s sentiments were echoed by small forward Tobias Harris.
Harris, who had been vocal on Twitter about the situation, blamed a lack of compassion for much of the vitriol directed at Simmons.
“I think we have to really understand that he’s a human first and if he’s going through something at that time, we have to respect that and be there for him as a team, an organization, fans, all the way down the line because when he’s in here putting on a show and helping the Sixers get wins, everybody’s cheering and praising, but we live in a ‘what have you done for me lately’ type of world and when that’s not the case, it’s easy to turn around … I think at this time, he needs more support than neglect,” Harris told Sixers Wire.
It appears Sixers president Daryl Morey agrees with Embiid and Harris.
In a recent VladTV report, it was noted that Morey is willing to do whatever it takes to get Simmons back on the court.
“Ben came in at the end of last week and said he had back stiffness and he’s dealing with some personal reasons off the court. Both we take very seriously, we’re working with Ben to provide every resource to help him with what is needed,” Morey said. “He spoke to his teammates, things seem to be moving very much in a positive direction. We’re going to provide all the resources, give Ben what he needs, and get him out there as soon as we can.”
Simmons, who addressed his teammates late last week, remains unavailable and there is no clear timetable for his return. There is, however, a newfound sense of support for the three-time All-Star and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
What do you think of the Sixers offering their full support to Simmons? Let us know in the comments.