The Ben Simmons saga is still a relevant topic in the NBA. A couple of months after he decided to cut ties with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Australian made a surprising return to the team two weeks ago.
Last week was very eventful for the team and the player. He was spotted practicing with his phone in the pocket while showing no emotions on the court. Simmons was then kicked out of practice by head coach Doc Rivers before admitting he wasn't mentally ready to play as the Sixers expected him to.
Simmons claimed his back was hurt in the middle of that, which earned him a lot of criticism. Well, that appears to be in the past now, as the player gets ready to make a return to the court.
Meanwhile, people wonder how this situation will end and which players will be next to throw a tantrum as Simmons did. Charles Barkley recently took a shot at the point guard, calling him out for not improving his game after signing a massive contract.
“If he came out sometime and said, ‘I apologize for not playing better, the criticisms are fair and I’m going to do everything in my power to be a great basketball player,’ I think Philadelphia would have forgiven him,” Barkley said.
“I don’t know why Ben got mad at that sh–, to be honest with you. Listen, I’m not one of those old guys who feel like I didn’t make any money and I hate on these young guys making all this money. But I thought if you’re making $40 million a year (Simmons actually signed a five-year, $170 million contract extension in 2019) and people are telling you to get better in basketball, you should get better in basketball.”
Moreover, the 1993 NBA MVP compared the situations between James Harden and Simmons. The former Houston Rocket forced his way out of Texas, showing up late and overweight to training camp, decreasing his level and more. Simmons tried to pull off a similar move, cutting all communications with the Sixers, staying he wanted to be traded.
“I use the analogy talking to my friends that if a lot of guys could get divorced and it would cost them five to seven to 10 million dollars they’re going to get divorced,” Barkley said. “But if it’s going to cost you $200 million you’re going to stay married.”
“James Harden took the money and said f— you and gave Houston the middle finger,” Barkley said. “Now you got Ben Simmons who they owe $150 million, and he said, f— you, I’m not playing there.
“It’s screwed up. Going forward, you’re going to have to give a guy $150 million or $200 million and if he’s ever unhappy, you’re at his mercy. I don’t think that’s good for our league.”
This isn't the only drama in the league right now. Kyrie Irving's refusal to take the vaccine is also causing trouble for the Brooklyn Nets. The league needs to fix this before it gets out of control.
Simmons is indeed a terrific player who can give teams a lot on both ends of the ball. Yet, his refusal to expand his game is becoming a problem because an inability to make free throws consistently is a massive problem for his trade value. Perhaps he'll show new things in his return to the league, but the situation now looks complicated for the 25-year-old.