Charles Barkley Says 76ers Need to Trade Ben Simmons: 'Fans Would Not Forgive Him'

Adam WellsJanuary 18, 2022

FILE - Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) goes to the basket during their NBA playoff basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, in Atlanta, in this Saturday, June 12, 2021, file photo. Simmons says he's taking his ball and going home. The 76ers say they still want their disgruntled All-Star guard. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
AP Photo/John Bazemore, File

A 76ers legend believes it's in the team's best interest to trade Ben Simmons because of the way Philadelphia fans have reacted to the three-time All-Star's ongoing holdout.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Barkley said Simmons is "never going to play another game in Philly" because the "fans would not forgive him."

Barkley is familiar with the dynamics of being a high-profile athlete in Philadelphia, as he spent the first eight seasons of his career playing for the Sixers from 1984-92.

During an August 2020 appearance on the Outside The Lane podcast (h/t NBC Sports Philadelphia), Barkley explained why Philadelphia can be a difficult place for some athletes to play.

"You have to have a strong mindset," he said. "The one thing I give them credit for, if you just work hard, they'll give you your respect. But if they see you out doing stuff you shouldn't be doing and you're playing bad, you're not going to last there long."

Simmons has been away from the Sixers all season as he continues to wait for a trade, and there is no indication a resolution is getting close.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, met with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand.

"Simmons is no closer to honoring the team's hopes for a return to the court this season— and the Sixers' steep asking price has brought Simmons no closer to a potential trade, sources told ESPN," Wojnarowski wrote.

The last time Simmons played was in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks. He infamously passed up on a dunk attempt late in the fourth quarter with the Sixers trailing 88-86 to dump the ball off to Matisse Thybulle.

Thybulle was fouled on the play, but only made one of two free throws. Philadelphia went on to lose 103-96, with Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers criticizing Simmons after the game.

Simmons has still been one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference over the past four seasons. The 25-year-old was named to the All-Star team in each of the previous three years and has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game in 275 career starts.