'Buckle up': 76ers boss' wild four-year Ben Simmons statement

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·Sports Reporter
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The Ben Simmons trade saga could drag on for years, Philadelphia 76ers' GM Daryl Morey says. Pictures: Getty Images
The Ben Simmons trade saga could drag on for years, Philadelphia 76ers' GM Daryl Morey says. Pictures: Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers are once again digging their heels in over the Ben Simmons situation, with team general manager Daryl Morey telling fans the saga could go on for 'four years'.

Simmons requested a trade away from the 76ers after their disastrous loss to the Atlanta Hawks in last season's playoffs, even threatening to not show up to the team's training camp.

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The former No.1 pick made good on his threat even through the 76ers' pre-season games, before the threat of ongoing financial penalties for not showing up started to sting.

Simmons returned to the team last week, but it's clear the 25-year-old hasn't necessarily been happy to be back.

He's distanced himself from teammates, and was kicked out of practice and later suspended for a game for not participating in a defensive drill.

The running saga, which has seen anonymous sources from both Simmons' camp and the 76ers throwing accusations back and forth through the NBA media, looks set to run for a long time yet.

In a radio interview, Sixers GM Morey told fans to 'buckle up', again insisting the team would not trade Simmons unless they got what they feel is appropriate value back for the Australian star.

He said the team would rather work though the issues of Simmons being a 'distraction' than simply trade him and be done with the situation.

"Would you rather eliminate what people perceive to be a distraction, or would you rather have better playoff odds? I'll take playoff odds," Morey said.

"Whatever we have to deal with that helps the Philadelphia 76ers win the title, we'll do it.

"You're going to think I'm kidding, I'm not. This could (go on for) 4 years.  

"We're in the prime of Joel (Embiid's) career...Either Ben Simmons is playing for us, or we have to get back a difference maker."

Ben Simmons stuck in stalemate with 76ers

The 76ers and Simmons are at odds after the team was eliminated from the playoffs last season. 

Simmons was criticised by head coach Doc Rivers and star Joel Embiid after Simmons passed up easy shots and struggled at the free-throw line during the series against the Atlanta Hawks.

Simmons reportedly told the team he wanted a trade in the offseason. 

The 76ers allegedly shopped Simmons, but did not get a deal they wanted. Simmons decided to hold out at the start of camp, but returned to the team after fines piled up.

Simmons' return hasn't fixed anything, and it has reached a point where players from other Philadelphia teams are giving him advice. 

A trade feels like the best solution at this point, and things are going to be extremely awkward in Philadelphia until that happens.

Pelicans fans chanted 'where's Ben Simmons?' at the Philadelphia 76ers when they faced off in their NBA season opener. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Pelicans fans chanted 'where's Ben Simmons?' at the Philadelphia 76ers when they faced off in their NBA season opener. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The 76ers were not scheduled to practice Thursday, but Simmons was expected to take part in an individual workout. He did not, instead telling the team he was injured. 

The 76ers staff checked Simmons out and reportedly told him he was good to participate in workouts after he received treatment.

Simmons did not take part in his individual workout, instead leaving the team's facility.

Simmons reportedly did not complain of back issues prior to Thursday, according to Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice. 

Sources told Neubeck they expected Simmons to "use some sort of health explanation" to get out of playing Friday's game. Simmons' entry physical when he re-joined the team allegedly came back clean.

The team has not officially ruled Simmons out for Friday's game against the Brooklyn Nets, although it seems unlikely Simmons will play considering he has only taken part in two full practices. 

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Simmons will miss the game and "is not expected to play for an undetermined period of time."

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