The Ben Simmons Problem

Julia Barth

Any Philadelphia sports fan is probably keeping up to date with the Ben Simmons situation. The Philadelphia 76’ers were eliminated in the second round of playoffs last June after finishing in sixth place, and shortly after Ben Simmons made it known he wants a trade although he still has four more seasons under contract. Simmons and the Sixers remained in a tense and awkward standoff.

Simmons met with the Sixers early in the offseason, but no deal was met. Simmons refused to show up to camp and didn’t go with the team when they traveled to play the Raptors for the first offseason game. Instead of handling his concerns properly, Simmons resorted to silent treatment.

In the final games of the regular season, there were more tweets saying “trade Simmons” rather than the popular “Trust the Process”. Simmons is Philadelphia’s point guard, however has only shot 34 times from 3 point range in 275 career games. In 2019, then Coach Brett Brown even said he wanted Simmons to shoot from behind the arc at least once a game, but fast forward to 2020 and Simmons still proved hesitant to shoot a three-pointer. He didn’t shoot a single 3 point shot in the 4th quarter of games 4-7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. His confidence was obviously suffering, and the harsh response from fans definitely wasn’t helping, although there was a reason behind their complaints.

After Simmons’ refusal to shoot the ball and child-like meltdown after the playoffs, many fans had had enough. As seen on all social media platforms, fans started duck-taping over the Simmons name on their jerseys. 

The 76ers placed 25% of Simmon’s salary (roughly 8.25 million dollars) into a separate account, and plan to fine Simmons 360,000 dollars per game he misses. The Sixers looked tirelessly for a trade and made some legitimate calls and had some serious meetings for big-name players such as James Harden and Damian Lillard, however, the Sixers’ high numbers and Simmons meltdown didn’t make it easy and no deals were made. Simmons responded by saying that he wouldn’t play for the team if he wasn’t traded.

The team clearly has been suffering the “loss” of their teammate. Sixer’s player Joel Embiid spoke of his disappointment.

 “..I’m disappointed. I’m just disappointed that we’re in this situation.”

Simmons showed up to camp and practice, however, was kicked out after he was not engaged and showed a poor attitude. He was suspended from one game. 

At the end of the day, the Sixers are suffering due to Simmons, his childlike behavior is hurting the team’s attitude and bond. The bottom line is, the Sixers need to either find a trade and get Simmons out or somehow compromise and try to mend ties. Whatever it is, it needs to happen quickly.