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September 01, 2021

Eytan Shander: Simmons is as good as gone — and you're not going to like the return

Opinion Sixers
Ben_Simmons_8_Hornets_Sixers_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons.

Nothing changed. Maybe that’s the problem, but make no mistake, nothing has changed from the last time we heard anything concrete regarding Ben Simmons leaving Philadelphia.

I take that back, something, and only one thing, did change — the level of patience in Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. This entire back-and-forth, right through ridiculous “reports” of Tyrese Maxey being a must-trade in any deal with Simmons, is a result of grown people becoming impatient. We take for granted how childish celebrities and the people who represent them truly are, mainly because so much is diffused through media reports.

So, what changed between earlier this summer when Simmons' camp said they'd be open to a trade to now, when they're reportedly demanding it? 

Patience — or a lack thereof. That’s really it. I hate to be the bearer of such deflating news, but there isn’t much to react to this week, especially the childish overreactions of any agent pushing even more nonsense through “reports” about other players. Simmons was always going to get traded, even amid Brian Windhorst's reports of the team's posturing, saying that they're open to having Simmons here to start the season. 

Once you can look at it through the proper spectrum, this just becomes a matter of, “Hey! You aren’t moving fast enough!” more than anything else. Daryl Morey and the team told Windhorst they aren’t going to race to trade Simmons. Simmons told the world – through the media – that he’s done playing here. But anyone paying attention probably already knew this.

Before Kendrick Perkins ever said anything about Simmons not coming back or holding out – and losing a lot of money – we had the usual NBA news-breakers reporting that Simmons and Klutch were not only on board with a trade, but also helping to facilitate one.

Every single time something “new” comes out, it’s just a reflection of Simmons and his camp not happy with the speed of any movement. We know both sides simply don’t benefit from Simmons sitting out as a Sixer. No team in any sport wants to pay an athlete millions of dollars against a cap to sit out games. Simmons loses a ton of money and hurts his team’s leverage in moving him, which is the only goal right now.

It makes absolutely zero sense for either side to encourage a hold-out, so we are left with the simplest explanation. Applying Occam’s Razor, we see an agent beyond frustrated that a team hasn’t moved his client for 65-70 cents on the dollar. We see a team refusing to cave, knowing the goal is to maximize any return for the player. Someone got mad, probably yelled, or sent some texts in ALL CAPS. We get each side running to their respective media outlets pushing their extreme version of the story.

Which brings us to the most absurd part of this saga: the hostage demands of Maxey and his status being dictated by Simmons' agent. Paul is no idiot. He may be handling this situation in a poor manner, but he is far from dumb. Being one of the savviest agents in sports, Paul knows he has a hot button he can press, one that will get media and fans in a stir.

Maxey is either one of the main bargaining chips already in trade talks OR just a bunch of smoke to get public pressure back on the team. Either way, it’s nonsense. Paul already knows his other client has been in talks, so putting this out here about Maxey is just a re-interpretation of what’s currently happening. If not, then Paul is just bluffing, as no agent would sacrifice an entire relationship with a team just to get one of their clients out of town.

The best part about all of this is timing, mainly because it’s a nice distraction of an eventual gut-punch by the Phillies or not talking about the Eagles-Falcons game for 12 days. Simmons will be traded by Morey; it was never a matter of “if” and still remains a matter of “when." It’s hard not to react to every single piece of news but discerning what’s actual news, versus rehashed information meant to speed up a trade process, is becoming its own process.

Trust this, Simmons is gone and you probably aren’t going to like what they get back.

Grading the Week

Nick Sirianni completely left his football team unprepared for the start of the regular season. In a preseason where we saw veteran starters play in the third week, the Eagles decided to let an analytics person dictate to the coach who should play. We got contradiction after contradiction about competition and were stuck watching Joe Flacco for two and a half weeks. I am rooting for Hurts and want him to succeed, which is why I’m disappointed he barely played last month. The learning curve for a new system in this league is not friendly, and neither are our fans to struggling QBs. D+

Madden is not good. Not much has changed so I don’t have an issue with the gameplay overall, think the controls and speed of the game match what we’ve seen. They are constantly tinkering with the player ratings and skill sets, which become background noise for me at this point. The Face of the Franchise isn’t a bad story, with some decent things to play during the road to the NFL. My favorite part is how much of the story I can skip through to get to the next action. The problem – and it’s a rather large one – is how slow this game loads. My PS2 loads faster than this game. It’s not just before games, it’s every single time you move off the screen. Going from one page to another shouldn’t take any time loading, not in 2021. C+

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes and Eytan (Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.)

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