The thing Ben Simmons doesn’t seem to understand is that the Sixers don’t need him on the pitch to get to where they’ve been in their four seasons with him. In short, he’s trying to take advantage of a leverage that everyone knows he doesn’t have.
The Sixers didn’t beat the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs with him on the field. They didn’t beat the Bucks in the regular season with him on the field. What does it matter if they don’t beat these teams without him? They might as well not win a championship without him.
On Tuesday morning, we witnessed the only possible conclusion of Simmons’ failure to grasp this crucial logic when Doc Rivers kicked him out of training for refusing to participate in an exercise. You have seen it develop for several days, two opposing fronts converging on each other, a rational actor and an irrational, both convinced of having the priority.
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At the heart of the collision was a dramatic miscalculation on the part of a man who was brainwashed into believing he is not who he is. The summary reads: A basketball player thought he could hold his team for ransom. Now it turns out the only hostage is himself.
The Sixers’ only choice is to stick with the tough approach they’ve taken so far. Greet him with open arms, then ask him to leave when he becomes a distraction. You hope that at some point Simmons will begin to understand why he hasn’t been traded yet. He would see that the Sixers have no incentive to agree to a deal that takes them further away from controversy. More importantly, he would see how far they are.
In that sense, the events of Tuesday morning might be the best thing that can happen to the Sixers here at the start of the final season of TV’s longest-running black comedy. As a source told the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Simmons’ refusal to participate in a defensive drill during practice on Tuesday morning prompted Rivers to ask his former playmaker to leave. Shortly after, the Sixers announced a one-game suspension. In doing so, the organization drew a line begging to be drawn since Simmons ended his resistance and returned to the team. It’s a line they now have even less incentive to move.
The Sixers are a good enough team to go through three months of Eastern Conference basketball without a player who refuses to do the things a championship team would need. Now, at least, they can do it without having to pretend that everything is as it should: that it was quite normal for a player to train in jogging pants at three-quarters the speed, to linger selflessly in the background like the head coach. speak. Previously, players like Joel Embiid and Danny Green had to answer questions about their apparent teammate in this goofy athletic language code, to pretend that Simmons really represented the name on the front of the jersey and not the one on the back.
Now? The reality has been exposed. All it took for Simmons to self-destruct was a few days to please him. After training was over on Tuesday morning, you felt a weight had been lifted from the team. Embiid, to his credit, had spent much of the previous month mobilizing every ounce of his energy to bite his prolific tongue. Simmons’ trade demand and resistance has always been more personal to the great man than he hinted at, and now he finally had some freedom to speak.
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He revealed that he had not spoken to Simmons since his return. Embiid agreed with the Sixers’ official description of his longtime running mate’s behavior as “conduct detrimental to the team.” He skillfully sprinkled his politically correct view of the morning’s events with references to âbabysittingâ.
âWe don’t get paid to come here and try to keep someone,â Embiid said. “It’s not our job, and I’m sure my teammates feel that.”
There’s a reason the saga we’re witnessing is unprecedented, even in the mad, savage, agent-run world of the NBA. Agents understand the agency, and a player has very little when he has four years of contract left. This is true even if a player is a superstar. This is even more true when the player is the only one to consider himself as such.
“Our players will welcome back anyone who wants to,” said Rivers. “And I also know the players won’t welcome someone who doesn’t want to be here.”
While Rivers spoke, Simmons was nowhere to be found, having left the training facility shortly after his coach asked him to leave the field. We can only assume that he spent the rest of the morning driving around the Philadelphia area in a six-figure luxury import blowing up Dashboard Confessional or whatever passes for emo music in the Land Down Under. If you haven’t heard him, his feelings are hurt and he reacts like most teenagers. By taking it out.
Simmons’ current method of lashing out seems to be part tantrum, part hijacking, no thoughtful part. It’s hard to imagine Rich Paul driving that bus, or anyone other than Simmons and his coterie of facilitators on board. We are witnessing an experience of what happens when an immature, over-inflated ego encounters adversity for the first time when it lacks the conflict resolution skills to move beyond self-destruction.
âAt this point, I don’t care about this man, honestly,â Embiid said. ” He does what he wants. It’s not my job.
READ MORE: Ben Simmons kicked out of Sixers training, suspended for prejudicial conduct after refusing to sign up
The Sixers would be wise to continue to do as they have. Take a step back and let it happen. At this point, Simmons can only hurt himself. Morey is the rational actor in this situation. If and when he gets an offer that gives the Sixers a chance to compete with Simmons, you can bet he’ll pull the trigger.
Until then, there is little to gain from accepting a trade before the pressure of the deal deadline begins to build up. In February, Simmons will have another three and a half years of contract. The offers are not going to get worse. The only factors that can improve them are Simmons and the weather. And, right now, Simmons is doing the opposite of playing his part.
The Sixers have all the incentives. Rather than spending the foreseeable future playing with Simmons’ passive aggressive attempts to both voice his displeasure and collect a paycheck, Morey and Rivers can now operate from the comfort of the cover Simmons gave them by refusing. to fulfill its contractual obligations.
They can save money. They can give their team existential meaning in the form of Simmons avoiding them. More importantly, they can send a message: on behalf of themselves and the other 29 teams in the league. There’s a reason gamers shouldn’t do what Simmons is doing: it doesn’t work.