Shams: Ben Simmons Turned Down Meeting with 76ers Players in LA amid Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 25, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 22: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Boston Celtics at Wells Fargo Center on January 22, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons remains committed to getting a trade away from the franchise and rebuffed his teammates who wanted to fly out to meet him in Los Angeles, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Charania reported Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle were among the delegation prepared to travel to L.A. to talk with Simmons in hopes of his reversing course.

"Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade," the report said.

According to Charania, the three-time All-Star has also "mentally checked out as a member of the 76ers" to a point where his level of dedication may have permanently waned.

It seems clear Simmons wants to leave and isn't merely posturing with a larger endgame in mind. NBA insider Marc Stein reported he's prepared to hold out of training camp, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN following up to say the veteran playmaker is prepared to accept the consequences as well:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Simmons is clearly aware of sanctions available to organization to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary. But so far, Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team. Sixers have yet to find a a trade they’re willing to make for him. <a href="https://t.co/vxSrBUWjXw">https://t.co/vxSrBUWjXw</a>

In that respect, Simmons would separate himself from some of the recent examples of a disgruntled star getting traded.

Anthony Davis got his move to the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2019-20 season tipped off. James Harden and Jimmy Butler went through the motions with the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively, early into the year until their wishes were granted. 

The problem for Simmons and the Sixers is that his trade value is probably as low as it has ever been.

In theory, a player with Simmons' resume should be highly sought-after.

He's a 25-year-old two-time All-Defensive honoree who's averaging 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game through his career. He's also signed through 2024-25, which provides the kind of long-term security a team acquiring a marquee name generally doesn't get.

Still, Simmons' disastrous performance in the 2021 playoffs highlighted his glaring deficiencies and raised questions about whether he can be the cornerstone of a championship contender.

Charania reported the Sixers "have not received an offer they deem enough to move Simmons."

The Athletic's David Aldridge reported Aug. 2 that Philadelphia was at that point "seeking control of at least four future first-round picks via direct trade or pick swaps, along with an All-Star-level player in most (but not all) scenarios."

The 76ers are gunning for a title, so they don't want to execute a big trade that leaves them worse off in the short term. But the Simmons dynamic might become toxic enough that doing nothing proves to be an even more damaging strategy.