City of Brotherly Drama?

Max Olsan, Assistant Sports Editor

The Philadelphia 76ers have started the 2021-2022 NBA season strong. Opening with a 5-2 record which leaves them tied for 3rd in the early conference standings. However, this start may come as a surprise to some. The 76ers have been playing without arguably their second-best player, Ben Simmons. Simmons has been in a constant feud with the 76ers and their management since the teams brutal ending to last season.


The 76ers were one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the NBA Finals. However, the 76ers were bounced in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks in 7 games. During this series Simmons was brought under heavy criticism. During the 4th quarter of these 7 games against the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons, arguably the second-best player on the team, took a total of 3 shots through all 7 of these games. A seemingly unacceptable number for a player of Simmons caliber. This ultimately is what started the downfall of the relationship between Simmons and 76ers management.


Days after the 76ers playoff exit GM Daryl Morey was dodging questions about Ben Simmons and his future in Philadelphia. Simmons, who is infuriated with these recent developments, starts to shut out Sixers management. Ultimately forcing his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, to meet with the Sixers higher ups to attempt to solve this situation. This conversation goes poorly and leads to members of Simmons inter circle pushing for a trade and dividing the two sides even further.


After an extended period of silence from Simmons, he tweets on his birthday, “Reflecting back I’ve experienced some amazing highs and with that, some of the lowest lows. Life’s a journey… I’ll always remain relentless and remain human through it all. Here’s to my 25 year.” Which implies to many Sixer fans that Simmons wants out and is pushing to be traded. Then, a bombshell is dropped by Simmons. About two months after Rich Paul had met with the higher up in the 76ers organization, Simmons lets the Sixers management that he wants to be traded and will not be participating in any team activities until his request is finalized and he is traded.


As this saga wears on and training camp nears a report is released that Simmons will sit out if it takes to solve this issue, and if it takes the entire year, so be it. So, what do the Sixers do in retaliation? They hold Simmons’ salary check. Since Simmons is not showing up to preseason or training camp, they begin to withhold Simmons earnings, which ultimately is around 8 million dollars. This gets Simmons to make a move. Simmons returns to Philadelphia and shows up to practice seemingly out of nowhere. But there’s a catch, Simmons begins to practice in sweatpants and there even was a report that Simmons was practicing with his phone in his pocket. He is not engaged, and not interested in doing anything. Which leads to Sixer’s head coach, Doc Rivers, forcing Simmons out of practice and kicking him out of practice.


Then, just days before the start of the regular season Simmons releases a statement that he has back tightness and will not be able to play for the first few games of the regular season. Now, we are seven games into the NBA season, and it seems as if Simmons won’t be touching the court for a while. There appears to be no way in which Simmons plays another game for the 76ers. While this saga has been unfolding for months, it seems as if we are in a standoff. Ultimately pushing the question, who will act first, Ben, or the Sixers.