Sunday, November 28 2021

The Philadelphia 76ers – from Coach Doc Rivers to president of basketball operations Daryl Morey to All-Star center Joel Embiid – are adamant they want All-Star Ben Simmons back.

Simmons remains adamant he wants a trade.

Simmons was not at media day on Monday and does not intend to practice with or play for the Sixers again.

Morey said Simmons and his representation – Rich Paul of Klutch Sports – asked for a trade shortly after the 2020-21 season.

“We were not looking to trade him. To coach’s point: multi-time All-Star, defensive player of the year,” Morey said. “We were on the doorstep like many teams. … Ben is a very good player, a big part of this team. We’re disappointed he’s not here. …

“We expect him to be back. We expect him to be a 76er.”

The 76ers say they want Ben Simmons to return to the team, but the All-Star guard missed the team's media day and has vowed never to play for the organization again.The 76ers say they want Ben Simmons to return to the team, but the All-Star guard missed the team's media day and has vowed never to play for the organization again.

The 76ers say they want Ben Simmons to return to the team, but the All-Star guard missed the team’s media day and has vowed never to play for the organization again.

Morey said hope remains Simmons will play for the Sixers and compared the situation to Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “I watched (Sunday night) a player lead their team to victory where a thousand pounds of digital ink were spilled on how much he would never play for that team again,” Morey said. “Every situation is different but we have a lot of optimism that we can make it work here.”

Said Embiid: “Of course we want him back.”

A group of Sixers players wanted to meet with Simmons last week in Los Angeles and try to convince him to return to Philadelphia this week, but Simmons told them he wasn’t interested in meeting, The Athletic reported.

Simmons is entering the second year of a five-year $177.2 million deal. While it’s rare that a player seeks a change that early into a contract extension, Simmons’ situation with the Sixers is different.

Morey declined to say what kind of penalty Simmons might face for missing media day, practices or games but said the collective bargaining agreement and standard uniform player contract allows for the Sixers to fine, suspend and withhold salary.

Meanwhile, the Sixers also continue to look for solutions, including potential trades. “I only have one focus which is to do what gives the best chance to win a championship,” Morey said.

If the Sixers trade Simmons, they’re eying a deal with Western Conference teams, a person familiar with basic discussions told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about trade talks.

How did it get to this point? It’s clear Simmons wasn’t happy that Embiid and Rivers seemed to throw him under the bus after the Sixers lost to Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Embiid and Rivers said that was not their intent.

Asked after the season-ending Atlanta game if Simmons was capable of being a point guard for a championship team, Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”

He tried to clarify his comments on Monday. “I’ll say it over and over again, when you watch it, it’s sometimes called intent when you talk,” Rivers said. “Clearly, clearly, what I said, ‘I’m not answering that. I don’t know right now.’ I was talking about how we just finished Game 7. And that question was asked. I wasn’t answering that. All year, who do you think defended Ben more? I still think the world of him as a player. Just because he doesn’t do certain things you want him to do doesn’t mean he’s a bad player.”

Embiid said he was referring to Matisse Thybulle’s missed free throw and not Simmons passing up a dunk as the turning point in the game.

“If there’s anybody that should be mad it should be me calling Matisse out for missing a freaking free throw,” Embiid said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ben Simmons misses media day, but 76ers say: ‘We expect him to be back’

Source: Yahoo Sports

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