June 17, 2016
Ever since Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said that Ben Simmons hadn’t scheduled a workout in Philly, the news became a story. Even though top prospects slow-playing the draft process isn’t exactly a new development, there were questions circulating about whether the LSU point forward really wanted to play for the Sixers.
Those questions were likely put to rest last night in Cleveland. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (who is very plugged-in), the Sixers had dinner with Simmons and his agent Rich Paul before Game 6 of the NBA Finals:
Sources with knowledge of the meeting said Friday that new Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown -- in the latest signal Philadelphia plans to take LSU's Simmons with the first pick in next Thursday's draft -- headlined a contingent of team officials that came to Cleveland to dine with Simmons and agent Rich Paul before Thursday's Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
The Sixers, sources said, came away impressed by the 20 pounds of muscle Simmons is said to have added to his physique since the end of the college season and viewed the meeting as the start of "building a relationship" with the player they are strongly expected to select ahead of Duke's Brandon Ingram with the first pick next week.
Not only that, Stein indicated that the Sixers are the only team that has been granted access to Simmons, which would lead you to take him at his word that he wants to go No. 1.
“Everything that we get with respect to our intel as it relates to Ben is he would very much like to be selected No. 1,” Colangelo said on Monday. “I think we heard the same thing from Brandon [Ingram] today, and it will just be all part of the process as we look at making that final choice.”
Sixers also got the medical information they were looking for from Simmons camp. That’s huge. https://t.co/z7rN8alvtg— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 17, 2016
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann