Ben Simmons is expected to be available for the Sixers in their final pre-season game on Saturday (AEDT) – but his team has no idea.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers confirmed Thursday that Simmons is available to join teammates Saturday after completing the league’s mandatory five-day Covid-19 protocols separate from teammates.
Simmons returned to the team’s training facilities again on Thursday and completed a training session with team officials separated from teammates.
It comes after Simmons on Wednesday broke his silence to speak to Rivers for the first time in two months.
The problem is that Simmons’ own teammates have no idea if the Australian will return – and have not even spoken to him.
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Sixers shooter Danny Green said Thursday that he has not spoken to Simmons and was asked if the 25-year-old should apologize to his team.
“We’re not asking him to shoot leaps, just come in, be a pro and do your job,” he said.
“If he apologizes, fat, but when you work with someone every day, you do not expect an apology from people who do not show up, whether it’s family problems or illness or whatever it may be.
“They come in and do their job.”
He said Simmons might want to fit the team while still demanding a trade: “If he does, he does. If he does not, he does not.
“It doesn’t matter to us at this point,” veteran Danny Green said. “We just want everyone to come here, show up and do their job. I am not asking him to do anything other than what he usually does. Just show up to work and do what you normally do for us. ”
Sixers guard Seth Curry said at his press conference that Simmons does not owe him an apology.
Stand-off is almost comical at this point.
Even Rivers has no idea.
All the coach can say is that Simmons is unlikely to play against Detroit on Saturday because the team is on its way.
“You know, I do not know,” he said when asked if Simmons would still be traded.
“I think he has expressed it, but we will see how it works.
“I assume he will play, but who knows. I can not get into anyone’s head. ”
Philadelphia sports radio host Jon Johnson summed up the debate in a tweet Thursday morning.
“No players have spoken to Simmons. Rivers ‘assumes he’s here to play, but who knows’. My God, ”he wrote.
Simmons had blinded his team when he showed up at the team’s Wells Fargo Center stadium to get a Covid-19 test — the first step in completing the NBA’s biosafety protocols.
His meeting with Rivers and general manager Daryl Morey ended with breaking communication, which dated to the end of August, when Simmons announced to his team’s senior officials, including Rivers, that he wanted to be traded.
All Star team-mate Joel Embiid also spoke to the press after the game on Tuesday, saying he also had yet to speak to Simmons.
Embiid said it was good for the team that Simmons was back. He also said he has not spoken to the Australian since they were eliminated from the playoffs in June.
Embiid said he had tried to talk to Simmons, but to no avail.
“I personally have not spoken to him since the season ended,” he said.
“I tried, but I was not as successful as many of my teammates have been. Like I said, it’s a shame the whole situation happened, but like I said, we’re a better team with him on the floor.
“I think there will be some adjustments, but it does not have to be awkward.
“We are all professionals. We will win. I want to win. He gives me the best chance to win, so that’s what I go with. ”
Simmons has previously made it clear that he does not want any more to do with the team.
The Sixers will reportedly continue to pursue a potential trade for Simmons, but that comes after months in which the team has not attracted desirable trade offers from rival teams.
It had previously been reported that Simmons would be ready to sit out all season if a trade could not be organized – but it appears he has changed his tune.
Rivers approached the media after a training session and was asked about Simmons’ relationship with other 76ers stars and how his attitude would be if he wanted to resume them on the field.
“Players do not interfere in people’s business. That’s the only thing I think is overplayed more than anything else, ”said Rivers.
“I’ve been a player when this has happened before and I was a player who has done it before and apart from the first 10 minutes of welcoming back and taking c ** p from your teammates about missing camp and such something guys want to win.
I’m not (worried about Simmons’ attitude). I’m not, to be honest. We’ve been around this before, right?
“We really have in different ways. My guess is when he comes, I think he’s ready to play. ”
Simmons has tried his best to force the Sixers’ hand, even though he still has four years and $ 200 million left on his contract. He refused to attend the pre-season camp and did not appear in Philly’s first training match against Toronto last week.
It was reported that Simmons has been fined a total of more than $ 1 million after missing another pre-season match on Tuesday.
The Sixers have been playing hardball and keeping a disgruntled Simmons on their books because they have not been able to accept sufficient terms of trade with another team. They want a faithful star in return for their three-time All-Star, but rivals have not been willing to host a package that satisfies Philadelphia executives.
It does not help that Simmons’ trade value was damaged by his offensive misery in last season’s defeat in the playoffs for Atlanta – the catalyst for the Aussie who wanted out of the city Brotherly Love.
Comments from Rivers and Embiid questioning Simmons in the wake of the playoff defeat – when the 25-year-old’s weaknesses were in the spotlight – allegedly damaged the previous draft No. 1 and played a role in him seeking a trade away from only NBA teams he knows.