Much of the last few months has been spent trying to figure out exactly where Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers stand in their ongoing dispute. Although reports have provided ample insight into the complicated situation, each side has kept their true feelings rather close to the vest.
That changed on Thursday.
After Simmons served his one-game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team” during Wednesday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, 76ers general manager Daryl Morey conducted an interview on Thursday afternoon. In the conversation, he told fans of the team to “strap in” because he doesn’t intend to trade Simmons until he can get the trade package that he wants.
“Right now if we traded Ben Simmons like he wants, all we would get back is role players, and that would make no sense,” Morey said in an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. “I would be prepared to strap in because it will take awhile. Simmons is a difference making player.”
The 76ers president of basketball operations didn’t stop there.
“You’re going to think I’m kidding, I’m not, this could take four years…we’re in the prime of Joel’s career…this is not a day to day [issue],” he said, per Kyle Neubeck. “Every day, we are going to expect Ben Simmons to be back here, or we trade him for a difference maker.”
Reports have indicated that Morey is dug in on his position and will only trade for Simmons for a package that keeps the 76ers as a contender while Joel Embiid is there. However, hearing him say so explicitly that he’s willing to wait this situation out no matter what antics the Aussie point guard tries to pull was jarring to say the least.
Morey incredible LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I don't know how realistic what he's doing is but he is certainly dug in
— Jason Maples (@JJMaples55_MST) October 21, 2021
A lot of the things that Daryl Morey just said on @975TheFanatic were well known or could’ve been deduced. But man, that was not your everyday NBA general manager radio interview.
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) October 21, 2021
I have a new hero https://t.co/OkWKHNj8n1
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 21, 2021
Daryl Morey just nailed it in his appearance on 975: it’s not about ridding fans of the bother of this situation, it’s about maximizing playoff odds.
— Austin Krell (@NBAKrell) October 21, 2021
This interview from Morey is fire; and it seems to me like his remarks are directed straight towards Klutch and every other NBA owner, league office rep, and GM.
— Brian Jacobs (@BrianMikeJacobs) October 21, 2021
Daryl Morey straight up said he’ll do this for 4 years lmao. This man ain’t playing games.
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 21, 2021
"we're in the prime of Embiid's career so I'm perfectly fine wasting the next four years. Not trading the guy we blamed all of last year on unless it's for a superstar" https://t.co/RJQLsPlwMb
— 𝙅𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣 𝙍𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙣 (@Cavsanada) October 21, 2021
Daryl Morey & Rich Paul both doing Madman Theory at the same time, this will end in nuclear war https://t.co/V2184VnG5U
— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) October 21, 2021
Morey is saying unless Simmons increases his trade value by playing, then he is not getting traded–only Simmons can control his exit with play and actions. Why is anyone surprised Morey said that? Morey must act indifferent–being indifferent is the best way to make deals.
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) October 21, 2021
Morey’s hardball position is a making for a fascinating NBA experiment. Simmons still has four years remaining on his current deal with the 76ers, so actually waiting that out would be downright ridiculous.
However, Morey recognizes that receiving role players in return for the three-time All-Star would significantly lower Philadelphia’s title prospects. He clearly wants to boost the 25-year-old’s trade value in some way before even considering a potential deal.
With Morey this dug in and Simmons acting in this manner, it fees like one side will have to give in eventually. Time will tell which party decides to blink first.