Ben Simmons wants to be regarded as the superstar he isn’t and the Sixers have given him that opportunity for far too long

Ben Simmons wants to be regarded as the superstar he isn't and the Sixers have given him that opportunity for far too long

Ben Simmons’ claims that he is, or was, willing to sit out the full season unless the Philadelphia 76ers move him were always a ruse. And it’s a pretty pitiful one at that. The Sixers deposited $8.25 million of Simmons’ $33 million salary for the 2021-22 season into an escrow account on Oct. 1, and they’re removing around $360,000 from that account for every game Simmons misses, preseason or regular season, according to ESPN.

Ben Simmons wants to be regarded as the superstar he isn’t and the Sixers have given him that opportunity for far too long

He’s losing a million dollars after missing Monday’s game against the Nets. What’s more, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that “discussions have gathered steam on Simmons returning to the Sixers, potentially as soon as this week.” Simmons arrived in Philadelphia and had a COVID test shortly after, according to Wojnarowksi, and he’ll be back on the floor after he clears protocols. Millionaires aren’t made by squandering their fortunes. There was no way this standoff was going to last “the long haul.” As a result, unless a deal is made soon, Simmons will be back with the Sixers in no time. Mind you, he’ll only be there in body. In spirit, he will not be present. That is to say, he will gain nothing from attending a few practises or even going through the motions of a few preseason games. But, when you think about it, that isn’t such a significant shift for Simmons. Practice has always been, for all intents and purposes, a no-show for him. He hasn’t grown one iota as an offensive player in four seasons — five if you count the entire first year he sat out but still had the opportunity to work on his skill.

It’s possible he’s regressed. He doesn’t seem to benefit from practise. Of course, it helps the team, which has been preparing for the season without knowing whether or not its second-best player would be on the floor, and if he is, whether or not he will be trying. Just a small annoyance for a team and organisation attempting to win a championship, you know? But Simmons doesn’t seem concerned about screwing up the organisation because, in his mind, the organisation — which had the audacity to ask Simmons, who was signed to a $170 million extension, to figure out a way to coexist with one of the top 10 players in the world — is the one who screwed him up in the first place. If there’s one thing we know about Simmons, it’s that he’s entitled. The Sixers, like a slacker parent, must assume some responsibility for raising this troubled child; they have indulged him at every point from the top down. Will Simmons ever take responsibility for his part of the problem? So far, he’s continued to look for scapegoats by pointing his finger at everyone but himself — again, with Paul doing the talking. Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid, Daryl Morey, and the fans, he claims, are to blame. Right. They are the players who can’t or won’t shoot the basketball. They’re the ones who clog up every available space.

They’re the ones who try to make free throws while blindfolded. Let’s also blame Tim Tebow’s receivers while we’re at it. This person, or Paul, has the audacity to say that the Sixers haven’t thrown a red carpet for Simmons. They’ve allowed him to keep control of the offence despite his lack of most of the half-court talents needed to, well, keep control of an offence. They’ve asked Embiid, the finest low-post player in the world, to position himself away from the hoop to give Simmons his valuable open paint, which he’s afraid to shoot anyway. Jimmy Butler walked away from the Sixers in large part because, if the tea leaves are to be believed, he didn’t want to play with Simmons, who is not just a flawed player but also one who has shown virtually no signs of being a winner. In the offseason, he doesn’t improve. He does not adjust his job to the team’s needs. Simmons has been more of a burden than an asset every time the Sixers have faced strong playoff competition. In the fourth quarters of postseason games early in his career, he had to be benched for T.J. McConnell. The absurdity of paying a person $170 million to play in big games when you can’t afford it is priceless.

One thing Simmons is correct about is that he and Embiid are not a good match. They’ve never done so. From the start, the Sixers have been attempting to fit a round peg into a square hole. But Simmons was well aware of this when he agreed to the $170 million deal. He had no qualms about accepting the money. Honoring the contract, on the other hand, appears to be a another issue. Let’s be clear about why Simmons and Embiid aren’t a good fit for each other: Simmons is not a shooter. He isn’t a danger in pick-and-roll situations. He’s the additional kid you don’t have room in the car for in the half court, but you have to fit him in anyhow. This isn’t an issue with Embiid. This is a Simmons issue. They’d be better off separated on a personal level. Simmons is well aware of this. However, he was offended when he learned that he was a possible trade partner for James Harden. Grow a pair. Only about ten players in the world have a right to be offended by being mentioned in a trade offer for James Harden, and Simmons isn’t one of them. He wants to be traded, but only if he gets to make the decisions. The other way around is too much for his ego. And his ego is taking a beating right now. Not only does he understand that the Sixers want him gone, but he also understands that no one else wants him badly enough to provide the Sixers a reasonable package in exchange. Because the truth has been revealed.

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