Ben Simmons has arrived in Philadelphia after spending the bulk of training camp in Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Simmons has taken a COVID-19 test and the team is hoping to have him back on the court as soon as he clears protocols, but according to Wojnarowski, that remains to be seen. Simmons had been fined for the practices and preseason games that he missed, so reporting to the team would allow him to start earning what remains of his $31.6 million salary.
Simmons asked to be traded earlier in the offseason after a tumultuous postseason loss to the Atlanta Hawks in which Simmons largely did not shoot in fourth quarters culminating in a bizarre decision to pass out of an open dunk in Philadelphia’s Game 7 loss. The 76ers have sought out a trade partner, but none have met their seemingly enormous asking price for the former All-NBA player. Simmons’ camp has continued to pressure Philadelphia to seek a trade, and the 76ers will continue looking for one, but they would reportedly prefer to convince him to remain in Philadelphia.
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That will be a tall task. Simmons reportedly told teammates not to visit him in Los Angeles earlier in the offseason to try to convince him to rejoin the team. The 76ers have been working throughout training camp to prepare for a season in which they might not have Simmons, so reintroducing him so late in the offseason could make things difficult. But without a viable trade on the trade on the table, Simmons’ options were to sit out and sacrifice his paycheck or to return to the team and hope a trade can materialize later on. It seems as though he is choosing the latter.
But Philadelphia is reportedly seeking a superstar in exchange for Simmons. None appear to be available at the moment, and it’s unclear if that will change during the season. If it doesn’t, Simmons might have to remain in Philadelphia longer than he’d hoped, and it’s unclear what playing for the 76ers could do to his trade value. This is an important step for Philadelphia, but the Simmons saga is far from over.