Simmons has Landed in Philly

Updated: October 11, 2021

Has the game of chicken ended in Philadelphia, and will the 76ers get what they have been hoping for in a return of the defensive player of the year candidate Ben Simmons? It appears at the very least that his choice to sit out the season and forfeit 20 million of his 33 was a bluff orchestrated by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. However, after all that’s been said and the temperature of the room in fanbase around Ben Simmons’ name how can you blame them? All that aside, Simmons has now been tested for CV-19 and cleared for on-court action in Philly.

There seems to be quite a bit of optimism coming from the front office or at least that is what is being reported that there is a possibility that Simmons will not only join the Sixers at the beginning of the season, but maybe stay long term. What they really mean, of course, is they hope he plays long enough to resuscitate his value that is currently at an all-time low.

Unfortunately, though, these hopes are obviously misplaced and are a mirage designed to misdirect the league into believing they have the desire to actually head into the playoffs with the same tandem that has continuously fallen short in the biggest moments. The truth is, Simmons isn’t a purely skilled basketball player. He doesn’t have a feathery jumper or a wicked crossover that he can’t help but flash…his superpowers require effort. His elite on-ball defense and his god-like explosiveness in transition, these traits require fuel.

There is a possibility he purposely comes out dull and makes himself mildly unplayable, however, even it isn’t a conscious decision, it’s impossible he is going to feel motivated to be the defender he has shown to be. There are some around the pods who are under the impression that the best way to stimulate a trade is for him to ball out and show his worth. However, even if he comes out and averages 20, 10, 7 how is that going to change anything? No one around the league questions his abilities or even his overall impact in the regular season. The doubt that has cast shade over his name is something that cannot be removed in the playoffs…specially in crunch time of 4th quarters down the stretch of a series.

Also, Simmons is on a 4-year deal, and wherever he lands is probably going to be home for some time. If Ben comes out and plays poorly and further diminishes his worth, the package that will be sent to Philly will inevitably be lighter, resulting in a better rotation to meet him with open arms after being traded. Look, the Sixers can say all the right things, and they may see it as a minor victory that they essentially handcuffed Ben into returning from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, but the idea that he will still be on the roster after the trade deadline is a religion nobody believes in. With each day, Morey and the Philly front office lose more and more leverage. Especially since teams who have hot starts will start to get attached to certain role players who previously they would’ve added into a deal with ease, the deals are only going to become more difficult to execute as winter approaches.

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