Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ben Simmons reportedly rejects meeting with 76ers teammates

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Things between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers only appear to be getting worse. 

Sixers players wanted to travel to Los Angeles this week to meet with Simmons and spend time convincing him to commit to the 2021-22 season with them, but they were informed not to come and that Simmons did not want to meet, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania

Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and most of the team were set to fly to see Simmons before being turned away.

“Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade,” Charania writes.

The news comes after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that Simmons “intends to never play another game” for the Sixers and has cut off all communication with the team since an August meeting in L.A. in which he informed management of his decision to hold out. 

Simmons’ relationship with the 76ers has been rocky since he was nearly traded to the Houston Rockets last season in a package for James Harden. 

Trade rumors continued to follow the 25-year-old after Philly was eliminated from the playoffs early. Simmons had an awful postseason and even took some blame for the Sixers’ second-round playoff exit, saying, “There’s a lot of things that I need to work on.”

The Sixers reportedly want a haul in exchange for Simmons, including an “All-Star-caliber player” and multiple first-round picks. However, several interested teams haven’t been willing to meet Philly’s demands.

The Kings have been heavily linked to Simmons, but the 76ers reportedly want De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in exchange for the three-time All-Star, and Sacramento isn’t willing to part ways with either player. 

NBA insider Marc Stein believes 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is hoping the Kings get off to a slow start this coming season so they make Fox available. 

“Morey is surely hoping that a slow start for Portland or Sacramento could lead to the sort of early tension that prompts Damian Lillard to finally ask for a trade, or the sort of desperation that nudges the Kings into making De’Aaron Fox available. Morey frankly needs an assist of some sort,” Stein writes. 

Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 season after signing a five-year extension worth $177.2 million in July 2019. 

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