Telling admission in Ben Simmons' feud with Philadelphia 76ers

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·Sports Reporter
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Ben Simmons could potentially re-join the Philadelphia 76ers before the season begins, despite skipping training camp.
Ben Simmons and his agent have started discussions with the Philadelphia 76ers over potentially ending their trade request stand-off. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Ben Simmons could be close to cracking in his stand-off with the Philadelphia 76ers, with reports suggesting moves are being made to prepare for his return to the team.

The 25-year-old has been in a long-running feud with the team following their disastrous collapse in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season.

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Their surprise loss to fifth-seed Atlanta after entering the playoffs with the best record in the conference was a damning result, leading to heavy speculation about the future of the Simmon-Joel Embiid pairing.

Simmons seemed to make that decision for the 76ers in the wake of the season, following criticism from Embiid and coach Doc Rivers after the game seven defeat.

The former No.1 draft pick demanded a trade soon after the season ended - but his poor performance in the playoffs dented his trade value.

As the weeks wore on and the 76ers were unable to find a suitable trade for the three-time All-Star, animosity grew between the two sides, to the point where Simmons refused to show up for the team's training camp.

The 76ers have been docking Simmons a six-figure sum for each pre-season game he's missed - but now reality appears to have sunk in.

Multiple reports suggest Simmons' agent, Rich Paul has been holding discussions with 76ers management about the prospects of Simmons re-joining the team.

Rivers has reportedly also been central to the discussions around Simmons - which are also essentially an admission that his NBA holdout is becoming increasingly untenable.

ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski said the 76ers' long-term plan was to convince Simmons to stay.

"The plan remains for the Sixers to continue canvassing the league for trades, but the possibility of Simmons reporting to the team has increased in recent days," he said.

"The organisations hopes are unchanged: Get Simmons back into Phiuladelphia, onto the court and ultimately convince him that it's still the place for the long-term."

Ben Simmons showing signs of softening hold-out stance against 76ers

If Simmons does come back to Philadelphia, some work will have to be done to mend relationships with the likes of Embiid, after it emerged Simmons believed he could no longer play with the popular big man.

Simmons and Embiid represent the fruits of Philadelphia's drawn out 'Process' - successive seasons of tanking in order to draft a superstar.

Both players have evolved into the stars the team had hoped for - but their on-court fit has never been perfect, largely thanks to Simmons offensive limitations.

The pair are the cornerstones of a potentially elite 76ers defence, but Simmons' inability to shoot from any meaningful range has proven to be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

Ben Simmons is reportedly coming around to re-joining the 76ers, but it remains to be seen how tenable the partnership with the team will be in the long-term. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons is reportedly coming around to re-joining the 76ers, but it remains to be seen how tenable the partnership with the team will be in the long-term. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Once Simmons was a no-show at training camp, a new wrinkle appeared: he reportedly didn't want to play with star Embiid anymore, and he turned away teammates who wanted to visit with him to convince him to come back. 

The Sixers then fined him $360,000 for missing a preseason game, money that he won't be able to get back. 

Philly was already withholding 25 percent of his $33 million salary ($8 million) for being away from the team.

That brings us up to date, with Simmons apparently getting closer to returning to Philadelphia. That doesn't mean the Sixers will stop trying to trade him, but at least he'll be back with the team until that happens.

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