August 05, 2021
UPDATE [1:35 p.m.] — Jason Dumas, who earlier in the day reported that Ben Simmons had cut off communication with the Sixers, went on the air with 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area and offered up some more details on where things stand between Simmons and the team. And, if true, it's not great.
Jason Dumas on Ben Simmons: "He's open to the California teams is what I've been told. Joel Embiid has reached out to him several times since the end of the season. He hasn't returned Joel Embiid's calls ... he doesn't want to return to the 76ers. Damage has been done." https://t.co/CJhQ1YACFA— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) August 5, 2021
Damn. Not only is he not talking to the team, but he's not returning his teammate's calls? Also, what damage is he complaining about? That's like a bull looking around a destroyed china shop and throwing up his hands (hooves?) in confusion about why everything's broken.
You can listen to the full clip here:
Ben Simmons’ relationship reportedly “beyond repair” is ignoring Joel Embiid’s phone calls. Doesn’t want to get traded to Raptors or Blazers. Open to getting traded to one of the California teams according to @JDumasReports on @957thegame pic.twitter.com/ouFTf7eBnw— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 5, 2021
UPDATE [10:24 a.m.] — According to a report, Ben Simmons has "cut off communications" with the Sixers as trade rumors swirl regarding the team's All-Star point guard and that Simmons is interested in the Warriors, even though he doesn't have a lot of say in the matter.
Source: Ben Simmons has cut off communication with basically everyone in the Sixers organization. Everything is going thru his agent, Rich Paul. Ben is open to going to the GSWs though he doesn’t have much leverage in the situation.— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) August 5, 2021
For what it's worth, this is not the first report we've heard this offseason that the team and Simmons were not on good terms, with Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reporting that the team was unable to reach Simmons. Team sources told our own Kyle Neubeck that wasn't exactly the case, and that the team had been in contact with him at various points this summer, but perhaps this not speaking thing is a more recent development.
Either way, it's certainly a situation worth monitoring...
After adding Andre Drummond and Georges Niang — and waiving George Hill — on Tuesday, the Sixers were quiet on Wednesday, with their top basketball executive and All-Star center even having some time to slip away to get a doubles match in at the tennis courts on Drexel's campus.
Joel and Morey doubling it up at Drexel campus. Def a sign that something big is in the works!!!! pic.twitter.com/12LDezZVZB— Weisspat (@weisspat1) August 4, 2021
[For those wondering, they won.]
But then shortly after the calendar flipped to Thursday, news came down that the Sixers were re-signing their own biggest free agent, Danny Green, who will be returning on a two-year deal at the reasonable price of $20 million (which isn't all that important since they have Green's Early Bird Rights and could go over the cap to sign him). The biggest thing is, the Sixers got their fifth starter back, and now they appear ready to run it back next season.
At least that's what Daryl Morey hinted at early Thursday morning when he tweeted the following:
Sure, that's just a screenshot of some stats sorted by point differential, but it certainly looks like Morey is suggesting he's happy with the roster as currently constructed, especially the starting five, which was the best in the NBA during last season.
But what about the 6-foot-11, 240-pound elephant in the room? Does this tweet suggest the Sixers aren't going to trade away point guard Ben Simmons, as has been widely speculated this offseason? Not really.
For starters, that's exactly the kind of chess-not-checkers move Morey would pull, making it look like he's totally happy to run it back with Simmons in an effort to help his bargaining position. The team still appears interested in Damian Lillard, who is over in Tokyo playing for a gold medal and there were reports on Wednesday that the Sixers hired Lillard's longtime trainer and former college (assistant) coach as a coaching consultant.
In the grand scheme of things, that probably means just as much as Morey's tweet, which is not a whole lot. The Sixers have been signaling all along that they're in no rush to trade Ben Simmons. They could bring him back to start the season and try to move him at the trade deadline, when his value will presumably be higher (it can't get much lower, right?) and they can get a package closer to what they're hoping for.
That being said, it does seem like the Sixers, who are currently tied for the seventh best NBA title odds according to Pickswise, are more or less done in free agency, at least when it comes to major moves. As we wrote about on Wednesday, any big moves for the Sixers will now likely come via trade, with the Simmons rumors continually swirling and there even being a report that the team is shopping Tobias Harris. So just because the starting lineup appears to be set, that doesn't mean that Morey doesn't have a few more tricks up his sleeve.
Keep it locked right here as we'll have you covered with the latest news and rumors from around the NBA (and, as always, we'll top this post off with any news or rumors that directly involve the Sixers).
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