A Monday report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that Sixers officials and Klutch CEO Rich Paul have “progressed” on talks regarding Simmons’ return to Philadelphia for the start of the 2021-22 season. Although nothing is set in stone, a resolution that keeps the former No. 1 overall pick with the organization that drafted him–at least for now–seems to be the most likely outcome.
76ers head coach Doc Rivers addressed that latest update in the Simmons saga on Monday and said that from “day one” he and the team have said that they want the 25-year-old back in Philadelphia.
He shared that he hasn’t spoken with his star point guard, but has had conversations with Paul recently that have “gone well.”
“Our position hasn’t changed at all,” Rivers said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps Monday.
Doc Rivers says that from “day one we’ve said what we wanted” — that they want Ben Simmons back. “Our position hasn’t changed at all.” Says he’s talked to Rich Paul, and not Simmons, so far, but that conversations have “gone well” throughout this process.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 11, 2021
Rivers’ answer on Monday might be what’s needed to get Simmons back into the 76ers training facility, but many believe that previous comments made by the organization’s head coach helped spur on the All-Star’s preseason holdout. After the Sixers were eliminated in last season’s playoffs, Rivers wouldn’t commit to the former No. 1 overall pick being the team’s franchise point guard in the future.
Since Philadelphia’s premature postseason exit, the relationship between Simmons and the organization has deteriorated. With four years left on his contract, Simmons indicated that he didn’t want to return to the 76ers and instead wanted a trade soon after the team’s conference semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Sixers seemed to honor that wish and began scouring the market for a potential trade partner. However, the organization’s asking price has been much too high following Simmons’ dreadful postseason and no deal has materialized.
In order to coax Simmons back to the team, the 76ers then started to dock pay from the 25-year-old’s contract. He will have lost $1 million in salary once he misses Monday’s preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Whether he realized the Sixers are his best option to play basketball this season or finally started to recognize the financial losses he would incur, Simmons seems like he wants to work toward a Philadelphia return. The 76ers still plan to look around the league for potential trade partners, but ultimately hope that they convince the former No. 1 pick that staying will be the best for each side’s long-term future.
Stay tuned for more on the developing situation involving Simmons and the Sixers as more information becomes available in the next few days.