By Michael Doctorovitz, Sports Talk Philly Staff
It has now been almost eight months since the Philadelphia 76ers got sent home by Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals. Almost eight months since Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid finally criticized Ben Simmons for his passive play and his fear of shooting and yet there has been no progress made. Simmons is still on the team, wasting a roster spot and refusing to play. According to people in Simmons' camp, he still watches the Sixers play every game and he still wants to play, just not in Philadelphia.
After holding the Sixers back for, at least, two playoff runs, Simmons now is holding himself and the organization back form trading him. He has yet to play and continues to practice away from the team. After being caught practicing in nearby high schools and University gymnasiums, Simmons has begun to practice at the Sixers training facility located in Camden, New Jersey. He has done nothing to help the Sixers trade him and members of the sports media have begun to grow almost as frustrated as fans.
Early last week on ESPN's NBA Countdown, Stephen A Smith pointed the finger at Simmons and Sixers owner Josh Harris saying that Harris has Daryl Morey "handcuffed" from pulling the trigger on a Simmons trade. Also last week on Inside The NBA on TNT, Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal called Simmons out for being "soft" saying that Simmons cannot take criticism like his teammate Embiid without being a "crybaby." Shaq also added that he does not respect Simmons for sitting out a full season just because he was criticized by his coach and MVP frontrunner teammate in which Simmons, according to Shaq, sent him a direct message on Instagram saying he was mad about the comments.
"He acting like a baby.”@Shaq went IN on Ben Simmons and says the Sixers star DM'd him mad for comments Shaq recently made on @NBAonTNT— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 3, 2022
More on #TheBigPodcast: https://t.co/v263O0hCCc pic.twitter.com/LGl9dtOYHJ
So, what can the Sixers do about all of this? They can hold off until the offseason for James Harden, which seems to be the option Morey is leaning towards, or they can make a trade now. Keeping Tyrese Maxey, who was just named to the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, and top wing defender Matisse Thybulle out of trade offers is something the Sixers have made clear they will do but where do they go from there? How do you trade a disgruntled superstar who has not played and will not play anytime soon? The answer: finding another disgruntled superstar.
“For the first time in a long time, sources close to Beal indicate he’s not rejecting out of hand the notion of trade elsewhere — even though his preference is to remain with the Wizards.” 👀— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 2, 2022
- @davidaldridgedc & @JoshuaBRobbins on Bradley Beal’s future pic.twitter.com/XFCBzrzoNc
It has been reported this week that Washington Wizards superstar shooting guard, Bradley Beal, has not rejected the idea of playing elsewhere for the first time in a long time. It is reported that his preference is to stay with the Wizards but if the Sixers were to make an offer, Beal would finally be in more of a winning situation and Simmons would finally get out of Philadelphia. Beal has been on the Sixers radar for a couple of season now and there is no better time to strike than right now.
The Sixers have exactly one week from today to make a move. Once 3:00 PM hits on February 10, the Sixers will be stuck with Simmons for the remainder of the season and he has made it clear multiple times that he will not play for them again, even though Morey and other in the Sixers front office say that they hope he will return to the team.