The Philadelphia 76ers have said they are committed to Ben Simmons and plan to work with him this offseason, but that will be difficult if the former first overall pick completely ignores the team. A report this week claimed that Simmons has been doing just that, but the Sixers insist he has not.
During a podcast interview with Liberty Ballers’ Steve Lipman and Dan Volpone, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer shared interesting information about the relationship between Simmons and the 76ers. Fischer said the team unable to contact Simmons this offseason and that the two parties have never really been on the same page.
“They haven’t even been able to get in touch with Ben since the season ended,” Fischer said. “Like, there was an intention to have a training plan or whatever, like in any offseason. That’s always been the case, that the Sixers haven’t been able to align themselves with a development plan … It just doesn’t seem like there has been a movement to come together on the same page to do that, and there hasn’t been. It didn’t work this summer either. “
The 76ers say the report is unfounded. Multiple sources on the team strongly denied that Simmons was AWOL when reached by Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.
“We spoke to Ben on his birthday a couple of days ago, we’ve been in contact with him all summer,” a source told Neubeck. “We are going to send coaching staff to see him this summer as well … we have a good dialogue with Ben, his team and his family.”
It is difficult to know who is telling the truth. Obviously, the 76ers want to cover up any dysfunction that may exist. They need opposing teams to think their relationship with Simmons is fine and to be content to keep him, especially if their goal is to trade him and get the most out of it. This is how leverage works.
The 76ers have already set a high selling price for Simmons. There are several teams that are said he was interested in the 25-year-old.
Simmons was an offensive risk in the playoffs, but he’s a tremendous defender and still very young. If the Sixers can’t get a decent return, they’ll likely hold him for at least another season.