Philadelphia 76ers' Morey says there is 'hope' for reconciliation with Ben Simmons
The 76ers' President of basketball operations cited Aaron Rodgers when speaking on the Ben Simmons situation
The uncertain future of 76er Ben Simmons continues to draw intense speculation as the saga rumbles on
76ers remain hopeful Ben Simmons will stay
Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said on Monday that he has "hope" of a reconciliation between star Ben Simmons and the team, even highlighting the Aaron Rodgers scenario in Green Bay as a sign that such resolutions are indeed possible.
"I think there's a lot of hope," Morey said on Monday as he sat alongside coach Doc Rivers in a press conference. "I would say I watched last night a player lead his team to victory when a thousand pounds of digital ink were spilled on how much he would never play for that team again. Look, every situation is different, but we have a lot of optimism that we can make it work here."
While there is a similarity between the situation of Rodgers and Simmons in that both stars stated their desire to leave, wanted Rodgers did in fact report for training and has subsequently gone on to play for the Packers once again. Questioned on what the team's response to Simmons' stance would be, Morey stated, "I'd say we're not going to talk about the specifics of fines or things like that, but I will say it's pretty clearly spelled out in the CBA and in his contract what happens,"
Morey speaks on the Simmons trade scenario
"Ben is a very good player, a big part of this team," Morey said. "We are disappointed he's not here. We're making our choices, but we're excited about the players who are here. We're going to focus on them, and we're taking our journey to be a championship team. We don't know exactly what that will be. In terms of what trades or non-trades, I only have one focus, and that's to do what gives us the best chance to win a championship."
Simmons requested a trade in the immediate fallout of Philadelphia's Game 7 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks - in which Simmons infamously passed out of a wide-open dunk with less than four minutes to go that would've tied the game. The 76ers would go on to lose. Coach Rivers himself drew attention for his comments that night when he said "I don't know," in response being asked whether or not the 76ers could win a title with Ben Simmons. Reiterating his comments from last he week Rivers stated, "I still think the world of him," Rivers said. "I still think the world of him as a player. "Just because he doesn't do things you want him to do doesn't mean he's a bad player. He made the All-Star team ... he almost won the Defensive Player of the Year award."
76er teammate Joel Embiid stands firm
Joel Embiid who also drew attention that night for his comments on Simmons doubled down on his position. "What did I actually say?" Embiid asked, when questioned about his post game comments on Simmons. "I don't think I said anything. I was asked a question what was the turning point of the game, and I really believe that was the turning point of the game. If there's anybody that should be mad, it's me calling freaking Matisse out for missing a freaking free throw. But we all talk about it, we all joke about it, we know we've got to be better."
Embiid was also asked if he had contact with Simmons, only to confirm that he and his teammates had in fact attempted to do so, only to be met with Silence. "Honestly, I would probably say I'm disappointed," Embiid stated. "Because I - look, obviously we haven't won anything, but just going by what has been said through the media and you guys tweeting on your sources and stuff, I would look at it in the way that, look at what we've been able to do. ... In the regular season we've been so good, and so dominant, that we know it's working. ... I'm disappointed that we're in this situation. ... I'm just disappointed he's not here, because he knows it, too. He knows we can win together."
A new reality for the Philadelphia 76ers
Coach Doc Rivers went on to confirm Tyrese Maxey stand in for Simmons while teammate Tobias Harris gave a sincere view of the scenario. "He's a huge part of our team," Tobias Harris said. "He's our point guard...so him not going to be here, it is disappointing. But like I said to guys on the team, to all of us, he's still part of our team, Ben is still part of our team, he's still got 15 guys in that locker room, probably seven or eight who played with him last year, that's still his brother, and he's still our brother as well."
"...So we hope the situation could get resolved. If it doesn't, we move on and we get this thing going. Because at the end of the day, the other 29 teams that have to play against us do not care. They come in and kick our butt, and we need to be ready. That's the reality of it."