CAMDEN, NJ, USA (AP) – Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons went from being drawn in the lottery to the All-Star Game to becoming cornerstones of the Philadelphia 76ers with maximum contracts, and the idea was that they would try to win together an NBA championship for a decade.
“We have been building this around us,” Embiid said.
Not anymore, not if Simmons gets what he wants and forces a trade out of Philadelphia.
Simmons, a three-time All-Star pick, was unavailable on Monday’s media day and they don’t expect him to report to training camp Tuesday after he requested a trade, even with four years and $ 147 million remaining. to his contract with the 76ers.
But, perhaps, unlikely as it may be, all is not lost.
“I think there is hope,” 76ers president Daryl Morey said.
Only Morey knows if he really believed it or if it was just a public stance, but he said he thought a reconciliation with Simmons was possible.
“We hope you return. We hope it’s a 76er, ”Morey warned.
Morey did not discuss possible penalties against Simmons, but indicated that fines and suspensions were “clearly stated in the collective agreement.” Morey cited Aaron Rodgers as the example of an athlete on the brink of divorce with his team, who returned just to make it work. things and being an excellent quarterback, as he has been with the Green Bay Packers.
The Sixers are already discussing the possibilities with Simmons.
Embiid wishes he had a chance to sit down with Simmons and fix the problems. Tobias Harris indicated that he would have liked the team to visit Simmons one day after the season ended and tell him that everyone shared the blame for the end of the postseason for the Sixers.
Simmons was not on the trade list until his representatives met with Morey this summer and indicated that the top pick in the 2016 Draft wanted to leave.
With Simmons, the Sixers remain contenders in the East. Without him, and Tyrese Maxey, Morey should expect to land some very good picks and a star (or two) to keep Philadelphia on track.