Trade rumors continue to swirl around the former No. 1 draft pick, and the strain between Simmons and the Sixers seems too significant to repair.
Although recent reports surfaced that the Sixers are open to keeping Simmons, the three-time All-Star still seems to have one foot out the door.
By cutting off communication, Simmons shifted the Sixers into defense mode.
The team maintained a steadfast line in demands for the 25-year-old.
The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported recently the Sixers sought four future first-round picks and an All-Star-level player in pre-draft trade talks.
But it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia landing a James Harden-like package for Simmons considering how the former No. 1 pick has submarined his value.
Simmons Took A Step Back This Season
The Sixers saw their supposed star wilt in the face of pressure this past postseason.
Philadelphia entered the playoffs with the Eastern Conference’s best record.
But the team faltered in the second round, losing to the Atlanta Hawks.
And in crunch time, the Sixers couldn’t count on Simmons, who shied away from the limelight.
His pass of what looked like a wide-open dunk attempt in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks stands as his most egregious error, but Simmons struggled throughout.
— Statline – Basketball & NBA News (@statline_) June 21, 2021
Simmons finished the semifinals series scoring 19 points over the final three games, total.
He managed just 9.9 points per game in the seven-game series.
The Hawks largely ignored him in the half-court setting, considering Simmons’ obstinate refusal to shoot.
Atlanta also opted to intentionally foul him when they could.
His free-throw percentage during last season’s playoffs, 32.8 percent, ranked the second worst in NBA history (with a minimum of 50 attempts).
Although he has made the NBA All-Star team in each of the last three seasons, Simmons’ scoring average dropped to 14.3 points per game last season, the lowest in his career.
Simmons also registered a career low in assists-per-game (6.9), rebounds-per-game (7.2), and minutes-per-game (32.4).
And although he finished runner up for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award and earned a second-straight berth on the All-Defensive First Team, his shortcoming on offense remain a real issue.
Simmons Lost The Faith Of The Team
In the wake of the Atlanta series, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t know if Simmons could “be the point guard for a championship team.”
These are not the types of comments a player wants to hear from a teammate or his coach.
This also hurts Philadelphia’s negotiating position with other teams.
The media has taken it a step further, with pundits like Shannon Sharpe decrying Simmons’ fate in Philadelphia.
The 76ers should trade Ben Simmons. They will never win a championship with him.
Ben Simmons hasn’t gotten any better since he arrived as a rookie. pic.twitter.com/WOaMQbfvme
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) June 21, 2021
Considering the Sixers are canvassing the league in search of a trade partner, it would behoove the guard to work with the organization.
Improving communication with the club could result in some input regarding his destination.
Also, repairing his relationship with the Sixers could show his future club a willingness to work and compromise, which could help his development there.