The Philadelphia 76ers are currently facing a lot right now. On the one hand, they are trying to prepare for the 2021-22 season and continue their title race, but they also face a lot of drama surrounding the commercial demand for Ben Simmons.
Simmons has made it clear to the Sixers that he has no interest in coming back to the team and donning their uniform again. He hasn’t shown up at training camp at all and he’s still not with the team as they face the Toronto Raptors on Monday to open the preseason.
The players on the current roster have focused on what they can control and that’s good, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Simmons thing is going to be an issue throughout the season. Players are going to have to answer questions about Simmons until the situation is resolved and this can cause distractions.
This isn’t the first time this has happened with a star player requesting a trade. The biggest examples of late are Jimmy Butler with the Minnesota Timberwolves and James Harden with the Houston Rockets. Butler was causing a lot of trouble in Minnesota before being traded to the Sixers in November 2018 and Harden was a bit of a distraction before he was transferred to the Brooklyn Nets.
A report was prepared by Kelly Iko and Jon Krawcyznski of The Athletic where they interviewed players and front office members from those respective teams at the time and a Timberwolves player has some advice:
“I would just say to them, you know all the media, every question of the media day and every media availability that will happen in the future will be about the situation,” said a former Timberwolves player who was part of the ‘team when Butler orchestrated their release in 2018. “That’s how it’s going to be until this situation is resolved with a trade or if something happens and he decides to come back. It will literally be the focal point and it is the only thing that matters. “
“Obviously there are some guys who know they won’t be included in the deal. But there’s a higher percentage of guys in that dressing room who could also be on the move in some type of deal, ”the former Wolves player said. “It adds another factor to the whole situation as to why the guys would just like a deal to be done so they didn’t have to worry about it anymore.”
The Sixers will certainly have to try to limit the damage over the next few weeks as they determine what to do next in this saga. Simmons is a great talent and Philadelphia should try to get fair value for him, but at some point they might have to settle for a little less to get it over with.
This post originally appeared on Sixers wire! follow us on Facebook!