After refusing to report to the 76ers for weeks, Ben Simmons surprised the organization by arriving at Wells Fargo Center Monday night. Though determined to force his way out of Philadelphia, Ben Simmons has returned to Philadelphia to meet with Sixers’ leadership. This meeting will be the first direct engagement Simmons has had with the team since late August. This development comes after weeks of discussion between the organization and Simmons’ agent Rich Paul.
According to reports, while the 76ers expected Simmons later in the week, he surprised them by arriving before their game against Brooklyn on Monday. Upon arrival, Simmons formally checked in and began fulfilling the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Because of his absence from training camp and preseason, Simmons was fined by the team, likely upwards of $700,000. Sources believe that, in part, discussions between Simmons and the team will revolve around how much of the fines he can recoup. However, whether Simmons is rejoining the team or merely reporting to camp is unknown.
Has Ben Simmons truly returned to Philadelphia?
Simmons’ return comes as a surprise after he made it clear he had no desire to remain a 76er. For the better part of the last two months, Simmons trade rumors have driven the NBA media. In the wake of a disappointing postseason, the Sixers seemed to lose faith in Simmons. After Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid made statements that seemed to question Simmons’ abilities, the relationship between Simmons and the organization seemed untenable.
What followed was a series of outlandish trade negotiations between Darryl Morrey and many teams throughout the league. Rumors tied Simmons to the Timberwolves, Trailblazers, and Indiana Pacers, to name a few. Despite interest from around the league, Morey’s asking price was too high. What seems likely now is that Simmons and the team will try and work towards a mutual solution.
For Simmons, he may have returned to try and raise his trade value. At the same time, the Sixers have a chance to repair their relationship with Simmons while they continue to seek favorable trade packages. After months of speculation, it seems the Sixers and Simmons are coming back together. Whether Simmons’ return is permanent or setting up a future trade is unclear. Whichever the case, I would be surprised to see Simmons in a 76ers’ uniform this season.