Guess who’s back? Back again?
It’s not Slim Shady; it’s Ben Simmons, who returned to Philadelphia on Monday UNBEKNOWNST to the 76ers, who were playing a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets.
That’s according to Woj, who chronicled the entire thing, writing this in an ESPN story:
After staying away for two weeks to start the NBA preseason, 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons reported to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday night — much to the surprise of an organization that had expected him later in the week, sources told ESPN.
As the Sixers neared the tip of a 115-104 preseason victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons — fresh off a flight from Los Angeles — entered the arena to take a COVID-19 test and start the process of returning to a franchise from which he has requested a trade, sources said.
Woj says the Sixers haven’t had a direct conversation with Ben since late August.
So what now?
For starters, the Sixers are off today. No practice in Camden. They are typically off the day after a game, so no media with anybody on Tuesday. Simmons also has to clear protocol, so keep that in mind.
From there, it’s a question of whether he wants to play or not. The popular theory is that he reported only to stop the fines, but that he has no intention of suiting up. That would jive with the leaks that took place over the past month or two. In that case, he could fake an injury and get himself into that limbo where he’s getting paid, but not really participating.
After the game, Doc Rivers was asked if he expected Simmons back on the court:
“Yeah it sounds like it. I think he did his COVID test today from reports from Woj. I’m gonna call Woj and find out what’s going on. But yeah, it seems like it, which is good.”
And Joel Embiid said this:
“It’s good for the organization. It’s something everybody wanted. I’ve always said that I believe he gives us the best chance to win. We’re a better team with him, that’s for sure. I’m happy things are resolved and we can move on and be a better team.”
“I personally haven’t talked to him since the season ended. Obviously, I tried, but it wasn’t successful as a lot of my teammates have (also not been successful). It’s unfortunate the whole situation happened, but we’re a better team with him on the floor. I think there are going to be some adjustments, but it doesn’t need to be awkward. We are professionals, and we want to win. I want to win. He gives me the best chance to win, so that’s what I’m going to go with. But as far as coming back and all that, we’ve made a few adjustments, and he’s just got to come in and buy in and we’re going to be fine. Last year we were the number one seed. You just got to buy in and we’re going to be fine.”
I’m sure there will be more news today. Standing by!