Sixers: Ben Simmons’ return to camp is the chaos we need
Oct 7, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers fan wears a t-shirt referencing guard Ben Simmons who has not reported to training camp during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The ongoing battle between the Sixers and Ben Simmons has reached yet another insufferable landmark.
After insisting he’d never play for the Philadelphia 76ers, the team he is contractually obligated to represent, he’s had a bit of a change of heart. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons may indeed actually be soon heading back to Philadelphia, perhaps as early as this week.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ben Simmons is considering a return to his Sixers squad. Somehow, this is the most chaotic outcome of all.
The reasons for this change of heart are many and are the $33 million he is due this season, none of which he’ll receive if he continues his holdout through the season and none of which can be recouped once games and practices pass. He’s already lost out on a $1 million payment, and while that may be less than three percent of his salary this season and less than one percent of the rest of his contract, it seems as though missing a paycheck might have been the impetus needed to create some movement.
Philadelphia will likely still look to trade Simmons if a great deal presents itself, but there’s no indication anything like that is on the horizon. Teams are obviously hesitant to give up large amounts of capital for a player who is capable of the kind of spectacular disappearing act Simmons put on in the second round of the NBA playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks, and that’s understandable.
Of course, Simmons returning to the Sixers likely won’t make much difference on the court. In fact, he might not even get onto the court, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, don’t expect him to even suit up.
So Ben Simmons is “going back to the Sixers” in the hopes of getting his money. Big surprise. The question to ask, however, is “Will it work?” If Simmons plans to report to Sixer camp but not practice, good luck to him in avoiding fines. If he won’t dress when listed in the lineup, won’t go into games when called upon, the NBPA might try to plead his case, but those pleas should fall upon deaf ears.
If he wants to get his money, he’s going to have to play. And that’s where the fun begins.
It’s not in Simmons’ best interest to play well. He might as well drive his value straight into the center of the earth, crash landing it like the Starship Enterprise on Veridian III. Make himself unbearable to be around. JR Smith threw soup at a coach, Ben Simmons can pull fire alarms in the team hotel at 3AM.
His best bet is to show up for every practice, team event and game and be the absolute worst possible version of himself. He can make Andrew Bynum shooting in practice from every corner of the gym look like a well-intentioned effort to expand one’s range.
Maybe he can get himself benched and banished. Or maybe the Sixers will call this latest bluff and play him 40 minutes a night while he shoots 28-foot jump shots with the wrong hand (which is the right hand, and might actually fix his biggest flaw).
The Sixers want him in the game in clutch situations when he might get intentionally fouled and sent to the line? No problem. He can shoot his free throws at the wrong basket. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. He probably wouldn’t have made them anyway.
Quite frankly, a few games of not giving a crap might do Ben Simmons wonders. It’s hard to be a shrinking violet, scared of the brightest lights when you make a mockery of the entire league by your presence in it.