CAMDEN, N.J. — Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey says he has “hope” of a reconciliation between star Ben Simmons and the Sixers, pointing to the Aaron Rodgers state of affairs in Inexperienced Bay as proof that issues can flip round between a staff and its disgruntled star.
“I feel there’s quite a lot of hope,” Morey mentioned Monday morning throughout his season-opening information convention alongside coach Doc Rivers. “I might say I watched final night time a participant lead his staff to victory when a thousand kilos of digital ink had been spilled on how a lot he would by no means play for that staff once more.
“Look, each state of affairs is completely different, however we have now quite a lot of optimism that we will make it work right here.”
Rodgers, like Simmons, wished off his present staff whereas below contract. However in contrast to Simmons, Rodgers reported to coaching camp, and now could be playing regular-season games for the Packers.
Simmons didn’t report back to coaching camp Monday, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported would occur final week. When requested whether or not Simmons may be fined for not exhibiting up, Morey mentioned he would not get into specifics however added that it’s a affordable expectation of the trail Philadelphia will take.
“I would say we’re not going to speak in regards to the specifics of fines or issues like that, however I’ll say it is fairly clearly spelled out within the CBA and in his contract what occurs,” Morey mentioned.
Morey mentioned that the final time he spoke to Simmons personally was in a gathering in Los Angeles a number of weeks in the past however has since been in contact along with his illustration, led by agent Wealthy Paul. He mentioned Simmons requested for a commerce proper after the season, however Philadelphia wasn’t thinking about doing a commerce then, and reiterated the one strikes the staff will make — together with a possible Simmons commerce — can be made provided that they assist Philadelphia’s pursuit of a championship.
“Ben is an excellent participant, a giant a part of this staff,” Morey mentioned. “We’re upset he isn’t right here. We’re making our decisions, however we’re excited in regards to the gamers who’re right here. We’ll deal with them, and we’re taking our journey to be a championship staff. We do not know precisely what that can be.
“By way of what trades or non-trades, I solely have one focus, and that is to do what offers us one of the best likelihood to win a championship.”
Simmons requested for a commerce within the instant aftermath of Philadelphia’s Recreation 7 loss at dwelling to the Atlanta Hawks — by which Simmons infamously handed out of a wide-open dunk with lower than 4 minutes to go that may’ve tied the sport. The Sixers wound up by no means tying the sport once more.
After the sport, each Rivers and Joel Embiid gave solutions that acquired consideration within the media — Rivers for saying “I do not know,” when requested whether or not Simmons could possibly be a championship level guard, and Embiid for saying the whiffed dunk was the turning level of the sport.
Rivers repeated the declare he gave in interviews final week, that his feedback after the sport had been taken out of context.
“I nonetheless suppose the world of him,” Rivers mentioned. “I nonetheless suppose the world of him as a participant.
“Simply because he would not do belongings you need him to do doesn’t suggest he is a nasty participant. He made the All-Star staff … he nearly gained the Defensive Participant of the Yr award.”
Embiid, alternatively, mentioned he has no regrets about what he mentioned as a result of, in his thoughts, he merely laid out what occurred. He went on to say that the one that had one of the best case to be indignant at him was Matisse Thybulle, who wound up lacking a free throw within the wake of Simmons passing to him as an alternative of dunking the ball.
“What did I truly say?” Embiid requested, when he was requested whether or not he had any regrets about what he mentioned. “I do not suppose I mentioned something. I used to be requested a query what was the turning level of the sport, and I actually consider that was the turning level of the sport. If there’s anyone that must be mad, it is me calling freaking Matisse out for lacking a freaking free throw. However all of us speak about it, all of us joke about it, we all know we have to be higher.
“So no, I haven’t got any regrets. I did not name out anyone. I simply said the info. I am sincere. I am unable to lie. That is simply me. So I haven’t got any regrets as a result of I do not really feel like I put anyone in a state of affairs the place they needed to really feel dangerous.”
Embiid did, nonetheless, say he has regrets about how the state of affairs between Simmons and the staff has deteriorated so far. When requested what he would’ve mentioned to Simmons if he’d been given the possibility to speak to him — after he confirmed he and his teammates tried to do, just for Simmons to rebuff them — Embiid paused for 10 seconds whereas deciding what to say.
“Actually, I might most likely say I am upset,” Embiid ultimately mentioned. “As a result of I — look, clearly we’ve not gained something, however simply going by what has been mentioned by way of the media and also you guys tweeting in your sources and stuff, I might take a look at it in the best way that, take a look at what we have been capable of do. … Within the common season we have been so good, and so dominant, that we all know it is working. … I am upset that we’re on this state of affairs. … I am simply upset he isn’t right here, as a result of he is aware of it, too. He is aware of we will win collectively.”
Rivers all however confirmed Tyrese Maxey will fill in for Simmons because the staff’s start line guard, joking, “I do not suppose that is actually that onerous, on that one.”
Danny Green later mentioned that Maxey “carries himself like a star. I consider in the future he can be a star.”
Simmons, nonetheless, is nowhere to be seen, and the Sixers plan to regulate to that new actuality as they take the court docket Tuesday for his or her first follow of coaching camp.
“He is an enormous a part of our staff,” Tobias Harris mentioned. “He is our level guard. I used to be telling this to anyone the opposite day. In case you look across the NBA at any staff, a championship staff or a bottom-of-the-pack staff, your start line guard goes out the lineup and the staff is form of in a bizarre spot. The PG place is without doubt one of the most necessary positions within the NBA.
“So him not going to be right here, it’s disappointing. However like I mentioned to guys on the staff, to all of us, he is nonetheless a part of our staff, Ben continues to be a part of our staff, he is nonetheless bought 15 guys in that locker room, most likely seven or eight who performed with him final yr, that is nonetheless his brother, and he is nonetheless our brother as nicely. So we hope the state of affairs might get resolved. If it would not, we transfer on and we get this factor going. As a result of on the finish of the day, the opposite 29 groups that must play towards us don’t care. They arrive in and kick our butt, and we have to be prepared. That is the truth of it.”