Even as the 2021-22 NBA season quickly approaches, the ongoing Ben Simmons saga in Philadelphia has yet to be resolved.
The most recent report states that the three-time All-Star will not report for training camp and "intends to never play another game for the franchise," apparently meaning that Simmons will not attend the 76ers' Media Day, which kicked off on Monday.
As you would expect, he was still the trending topic of Philly's Media Day, with general manager Daryl Morey, head coach Doc Rivers and star players Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris all fielding questions on their absent teammate.
Take a look and see what the prominent members of the organization had to say about the situation.
General Manager Daryl Morey
On the last time he spoke to Simmons,
"I spoke with Ben about six or seven weeks ago. There's poor communication with his representation. ... Look, we know the history of how these things play out. Ben is a great player and we expect him back and expect him to be a 76er."
On the steps they'll take if Simmons continues to be a no-show,
"It's very clearly spelled out in the CBA and his contract what happens."
NBA.com's Kane Pitman already detailed the implications of Simmons not reporting to the 76ers and the possible next steps, but the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) suggests $227,613 would potentially be forfeited for every practice and game missed, based on the star guard's contract.
Head coach Doc Rivers
On what specifically happened that Simmons wants out,
"It's a tough answer because it wasn't as clear as we'd probably want it to be. Wanting to change places, for whatever reason. It's tough to play (in Philly). But Ben didn't say that."
On Simmons as a player and person,
"I still think the world of him. I think the world of him as a player. Just because he doesn't do certain things that (the media) wants him to do doesn't mean he's a bad player. He made the All-Star team. He almost won the Defensive Player of the Year award."
Despite the harsh criticism, Simmons was named an All-Star for the third consecutive year this past season. He finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Rudy Gobert and was named to his second-consecutive All-Defence First Team.
On if he has a point guard plan without Simmons,
"Yeah, I do. I don't think that's that hard, really, on that one. The biggest thing is not who starts, it's that it takes another guard from the second unit. Because that takes us down one point guard."
On if second-year guard Tyrese Maxey will take on a bigger role as a result,
"Yeah, big role. Even with Ben."
Maxey was a standout rookie for the 76ers a season ago, even in an inconsistent role. The greatest indication of what he could be capable of is averaging 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists in the eight games he started for Philly as a first-year player. Maxey scored double figures in every game he started, including two breakout games in which he went for 39 points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Denver Nuggets and 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Orlando Magic.
There were some reports this offseason that suggested Klutch Sports - the agency that rosters both Maxey and Simmons - wanted both of its players out of Philadelphia, but ahead of a potentially big role this upcoming season, Maxey crushed those rumours at media day, stating, "Me and Rich (Paul, Klutch CEO) was laughing about (those reports). "
If Simmons, as reported, doesn't show up for the 76ers this season, expect a huge opportunity for Maxey.
All-Star center Joel Embiid
On the Simmons situation,
"It's a tough situation. As players, we have the freedom to do what we like, just like teams also have the option to trade us whenever they want to. It's a tough situation and it's not one we'd like to be in but I'm focused on the guys that are here and hopefully that situation gets resolved fast. I love playing with (Ben). We have a lot of potential. We've gotten close a few times but we just need to be better. And I need to be better personally for my team. So I'm looking forward to just being better."
On what he would say to Simmons if he had the chance to sit and talk with him,
"I would probably say I'm disappointed. Because, obviously we haven't won anything, but ... look at what we've been able to do. Obviously, we haven't done anything outside of the regular season, but, I've got to be better. Everybody has got to be better. But in the regular season, we've been so good and so dominant that we know it's working. So I think it's all about taking the next step. Everybody playing up to their potential. To be able to win, it's hard. I haven't gotten close to it but to get to the second round and get to Game 7, it's so draining mentally. It's not easy. So, I think it's about everybody playing up to their potential."
Elaborating on being "disappointed,"
"I'm disappointed at the situation. ... He knows we can win together. All of us, as a whole, some of us have complained about the fans, but we have to just not care. Just play better. Just play our game. Sure, people are going to go out there and tell me, 'don't shoot 3s,' every time I'm shooting 3s. That makes me think about shooting more 3s, I don't care. Because that's what's going to help the team.
"Last year, I thought, it didn't help us a lot because we didn't shoot a lot of 3s. People might have different views on that but I think it goes a long way, so that's something I'm going to do. If you're not comfortable doing so, then don't do it. (Ben) does so many other great things for the team that it's not really needed at times. At times, it might be. But defensively, he's a monster and he creates so many open 3s."
On his comments on Simmons after the Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 7 loss,
For context: after the 76ers fell to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Semifinals at home, Embiid had some brutally honest comments on the result. More specifically, highlighting a play in which Simmons passed up an open layup, deeming in the "turning point" of the game.
"That was the turning point of the game. But the player who should be mad at me is Matisse (Thybulle) for calling him out for missing the free throw. We all talk about it, we all joke about it. We know we have to be better. So no, I don't regret it. I'm just stating the facts. I'm honest. I can't lie. That's just me. I don't feel like I put anybody in a situation where they have to feel bad."
On how Simmons could help the 76ers if he plays this season,
"I mean, I'm sure we've all seen the (offseason workout) videos. That would help."
Simmons had a handful of workout videos reach the internet, showing the star guard knocking down 3-pointers and jump shots. This has become an annual tradition each offseason, despite Simmons only attempting 34 total 3-pointers over his four-year career - the majority of which could be deemed as "heaves" at the buzzer.
Star forward Tobias Harris
On being there for his teammate Simmons,
"We've tried to be there, and we are there. The situation is what it is. But as a group and as a team, we start training camp tomorrow, and I don't think he's coming through that door, so we got to push on right now."
On the ongoing Simmons situation,
"We hope the situation could get resolved, if it doesn't, we move on and we get this thing going. End of the day, the 29 other teams that play against us do not care."
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