“Every time I try to leave, something keeps pullin’ me back, me back…”
When Tyrese sang those infamous words, he was expressing his indecision about a relationship gone awry, but in the case of three-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, that sentiment has everything to do with one thing and one thing only: his money.
As we’ve previously reported at The Root, Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers have been embroiled in an ugly lover’s quarrel for months that officially kicked into high gear after the LSU product completely shit the bed in the playoffs. In the time since, Simmons has not only demanded a trade, but he’s pissed off his (former?) teammates after refusing to show up for training camp.
Unfortunately for Simmons, after self-destructing in the playoffs, he doesn’t exactly hold much leverage. For one, his trade value is minuscule considering he’s entering his sixth season and still has about as much range as Vin Diesel. And to add insult to injury ineptitude, he’ll be paid a king’s ransom this season—$33 million and counting—to incapacitate the offense of whatever team he gets traded to. Hell, at this point, having Simmons on your team is kind of like playing Squid Game with Cho Sang-woo, (as not to incur the wrath of Blue Ivy’s internet for spoiling some good-ass television, I’ma just leave it at that) and apparently, the rest of the league has come to the exact same conclusion considering the only trades Philly is being offered in return for their 25-year-old malcontent involve either VCRs or the coronavirus.
Simmons really thought he could take his ball, go home, and refuse to play for the 76ers until they traded him to a team of his liking. But once they refused to run him $8.25 million of his salary for acting like a petulant child, shit got real quick. This brings us to the current state of affairs in Philadelphia, in which Simmons not only shocked the shit out of his (former?) team by returning, but presumably shocked the shit out of his (former?) coach Doc Rivers, who was hard at work in his secret lair preparing for his next postseason collapse when his long lost point guard kicked the door in.
After staying away for two weeks to start the NBA preseason, 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons reported to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday night—much to the surprise of an organization that had expected him later in the week, sources told ESPN.
As the Sixers neared the tip of a 115-104 preseason victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons—fresh off a flight from Los Angeles—entered the arena to take a COVID-19 test and start the process of returning to a franchise from which he has requested a trade, sources said.
For those wondering how this unexpected family reunion played out, reportedly they all kissed, made up, and fine-dined on lemon pepper wings.
OK, I’m lying.
It sounds like shit is still awkward as hell between all parties involved, which is par for the course when you hate your co-workers.
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons passed his physical and held a meeting with the team’s front office on Tuesday, but he remains ineligible to participate in team-related activities until Friday, at the earliest, due to NBA health and safety protocols, sources told ESPN.
Simmons met with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand—his first conversation with them since August—in a meeting sources described only as “brief.”
It’s unclear what happens next, but by returning to the team, it’s clear that Simmons is doing his part to force the 76ers’ hand. Because either they play him and risk disrupting team chemistry due to his frosty relationship with the franchise, or they grant his wish and pay him to stay home until they can find a suitable trade.