Is it too little, too late for Ben Simmons to make amends with Philly? Reports are swirling that the Sixers and his agent, Rich Paul, are in talks about having Simmons return to Philly per Adrain Wojnarowski. Many questions remain if this could even work.
Simmons Many Reasons for Not Returning
Since the 76ers were booted from the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks, Ben Simmons’s reason for not returning to Philly kept growing. Initially, it was the new head coach, Glenn “Doc” Rivers. Rivers has told people publicly that Simmons is a “treasure.” After the exiting game of the playoffs Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now,” when asked if Ben Simmons could be a point guard on a championship-winning team or not. That was the start of Simmons’ love loss for Philadelphia, supposedly. Rivers has tried publicly backpedaling those comments.
Later, reports came out that possibly the “harshness” of the fans did not sit well with the All-Star. Of course, that lit a larger fire under most Sixers fans to want him gone. Some remained optimistic that he could still return even though reports were saying different.
The icing on the cake in the most recent complaints is not wanting to play with Joel Embiid. Most of his 76ers teammates, including the MVP Center, wanted to take a jet to Los Angeles to meet with the disgruntled point guard. The meeting was planned as a way to convince Simmons to commit to playing for the Sixers this season. However, they were instructed not to come and that the three-time All-Star did not want to meet with them. That seemed to be the final straw for even most Simmons supporters.
The demand for Simmons seems to be less and less as this soap opera continues. The Sixers have stuck to their guns about allowing Simmons to sit and pay the fines. Philadelphia fined Simmons roughly $360,000 for not showing up to the game on October 4th. This comes after the team withheld the $8.25 million payment owed to him on Oct. 1 per his contract. Per Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice, Simmons’ camp did not exactly expect the fines and the punishments to be this high as they continue their holdout. Simmons’ reps had another discussion with the players association in which it was reiterated they would be unable to recoup the money being deducted from the $8.25 million.
Are they serious? The powerful Rich Paul and Klutch Sports didn’t know the amount the hold out would cost him? That is ridiculous as it sounds. The Edge of Philly Sports team figured it out on the fly during a live show. (See Video above). Sounds like Daryl Morey and the Sixers brass made the right call for the Simmons situation and most likely future deals.
Is It Too Little, Too Later for Simmons?
The question is a good question. In my eyes, there are 3 groups he needs to make amends with. Group 1 and 2 are the Sixers management and the Philly fans. I believe that can be rectified with time and winning. If Simmons comes out and plays like we know he can as well as shows he has been working on his game in the areas that needed help those two groups could start turning back towards his favor. It will take time for some fans to come back to him but winning and showing some selflessness could heal those wounds.
My worries are more with group 3. Group 3 is his teammates. We always talk about how important being on the same page with each other is and working as a unit. Has he burned too many bridges? Will they want him back after he has turned them away? Will Joel Embiid want Ben Simmons on his court? These are many questions that I will guess will be answered in the coming days.
I think it starts with a public apology. It will be met with criticism and mockery. He needs to know that and absorb it. He needs to show he is humbled by the situations and to allow time and his improvement as a man and a player to heal the people’s wounds. Simmons needs to expect the Boos and to ignore them and let his actions speak louder on and off the court. Is it too little, too late for Simmons in your eyes?