The Ben Simmons Saga Takes Another Turn
On Monday night Ben Simmons returned to the city of Philadelphia.
In what was somewhat of a surprise to the team, Simmons reported to the team, taking his COVID-19 test, which is required by the league to play. One he clears the COVID protocols, he is eligible to make a return to the floor with his teammates.
Simmons of course had yet to report to the team, missing all of training camp and the entire slate of preseason games, racking up a plethora of fines in the process. For each preseason game missed, Simmons ran up a bill of $360,000 per game, and has reached over $1 million in fines overall since his holdout began.
Per ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, Monday morning started with the Sixers and Simmons' agent Rich Paul discussing a return to the team. However, that return was expedited, as Simmons showed up at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, sending a text message to Sixers general manager Elton Brand, letting him know he was outside the building and needed to be let inside for his COVID test.
So how will Simmons be received when he steps back on the practice floor with his teammates? There has been plenty of back-and-forth between the two sides in recent weeks with Simmons's camp leaking among other things that playing with Joe Embiid is an issue for his style of play.
On Monday, Embiid was asked about Simmons's return to the team.
"Its something that everybody wants," said Embiid. "I have always said I believe that he gives us the best chance to win. We are a better team with him than without, that's for sure. Thankfully things are resolved and we can move on and try to be a better team."
However, are things fully resolved?
There is no guarantee that Simmons will actually play when he is cleared but the Sixers are hopeful.
"They want to convince him to stay long term," said Woj on Sportscenter. "They want reintegrate him into this team. There is a lot of conversations that have to happen, Ben Simmons has not been talking with the organization at all. But now he can come in, start those conversations and see where his head is."
While Simmons has wanted to be traded since the end of the season, there is many who think by playing that can happen quicker.
"The organization wants to resell Ben Simmons on a future in Philadelphia," Woj continued. This is going to be fascinating how this plays out."