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Ben Simmons Situation Moving in 'Positive Direction,' 76ers' Daryl Morey Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 26, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey provided a promising update regarding guard Ben Simmons on Monday.

During an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Morey discussed Simmons' situation and what the plans are for him moving forward (beginning at the 1:50 mark):

"Things seem to be moving very much in a positive direction," Morey said. "We're gonna provide all the resources and give Ben what he needs and get him out there as soon as we can."

Morey also reiterated that he is "absolutely" focused on Simmons remaining with the Sixers rather than seeking a trade.

Simmons has been the focus of trade rumors throughout the offseason and reportedly expressed a desire to never play for the 76ers again, but he remains with the organization for now.

While Simmons reportedly didn't have any intentions of returning to the Sixers, he surprisingly showed up to take a COVID-19 test and undergo a physical prior to the team's preseason match against the Brooklyn Nets. He also spoke with Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand for the first time since August, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

The saga took another twist shortly thereafter, however, when head coach Doc Rivers sent Simmons home from practice last week after he refused to take part in a drill. Simmons was subsequently suspended for the first game of the regular season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Friday that Simmons had a positive conversation with Rivers and his teammates in which both sides took some responsibility for what had transpired to that point.

Simmons also reportedly said he was not "mentally ready" to play yet this season and added that he "needs time."

Wojnarowski then reported that Simmons was set to be evaluated by medical professionals before determining his next steps.

The 25-year-old Simmons is entering his fifth NBA season after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. He has enjoyed some success during his young career, including being a three-time All-Star and finishing second in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting last season.

Simmons also owns solid career per-game averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals in 275 regular-season games.

The Aussie doesn't come without his shortcomings, though, as he has made only five three-point field goals during his career and shoots just 59.7 percent from the free-throw line.

His deficiencies were on full display during last season's playoffs when the top-seeded Sixers fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round.

Simmons averaged 11.9 points during the playoffs and shot a moribund 34.2 percent from the line, leading to the narrative that he was the primary reason the 76ers disappointed.

A trade may be the best course of action for everyone, but since Simmons is under contract through 2024-25 with a yearly salary north of $30 million, it hasn't been easy to find takers.

Because of that, Simmons' best chance of seeing the floor this season may be for him to put his issues with the Sixers aside and suit up for them when he's ready.

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