However far along in its proverbial process Philadelphia is in the hopes of becoming a legitimate NBA title contender, it appears at least one member of its young core may not be in the plans.
Ben Simmons, the former first overall pick in 2016, told higher-ups in the 76ers organization that he no longer wants to be a part of the team and doesn’t intend to report to training camp when it begins Sept. 28.
Simmons has long endured a tenuous relationship with 76ers fans, which was most recently highlighted and exacerbated by his poor, and at times seemingly nonexistent, performances in the playoffs.
During the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where the 76ers fell to the Hawks in seven games, Simmons took an average of just over six shots per game despite playing more than 33 minutes per game in all but one game in the series.
In Game 7 of that series, Simmons even admitted that “he wasn’t there” and didn’t put up and provide for enough of the team’s offense. In addition to poor performances from the floor in that second-round matchup with Atlanta, Simmons shot just 15-of-45 from the free throw line.
This is far from the first report of a declining relationship between the young guard and his team.
Nearly a month ago, reports surfaced that he had cut off communication with the 76ers and any correspondence was going through his agent, Rich Paul.
Source: Ben Simmons has cut off communication with basically everyone in the Sixers organization. Everything is going thru his agent, Rich Paul. Ben is open to going to the GSWs though he doesn’t have much leverage in the situation.
— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) August 5, 2021
The 24-year old has even drawn questions from his own coach, Doc Rivers, who publicly said he “didn’t know” whether Simmons could be a championship-caliber point guard.
A three-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year, Simmons has four years and $147 million left on his contract.