To say that Ben Simmons had a dramatic exit from the Philadelphia 76ers would be the understatement of the year. After months of leaving all of his teammates hanging, Simmons conjured up a number of different excuses to not suit up for the team. He was eventually traded before the deadline, leaving plenty of bridges burned and a whole lot of drama behind.
Now that he's in Brooklyn, his return is expected to come soon -- but perhaps not soon enough for the March 10th game against the Sixers, when Ben will have the chance to face off against his former team in the 'City of Brotherly Love.'
In a chat with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Ben's former teammate, Danny Green, admitted his doubt that the young star will even play for that game and revealed some of his own thoughts about where things stand now that the trade is complete.
“Interesting dynamic of how things went down. Interesting dynamic of who went with [Simmons],” Green said (h/t NBC Sports Philadelphia). “I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to [Curry and Drummond] yet, but I know they weren’t on the most of cordial terms when he was in Philly, with Drum and Seth. So I wonder how that relationship is now when I’ll have a chance to talk to them."
“Now, will we shake hands to start? Probably not,” Green said. “First, I’d be highly surprised if he even plays in that game. I don’t know where his health is — mentally, physically, I know he had other issues — and we all know he does not like to play in Philly. So if he does play in that game, I’d be highly surprised. But say that does happen? I see it as being a very hectic playoff-like environment, atmosphere, to where it may be very rough for him. Depending on how he acts — I don’t have any ill wills towards the guy. I don’t hate him, I don’t dislike him, it’s just — for me it’s whatever. I don’t waste more energy going out of my way to dislike him or spend any more energy trying to go out of my way to hate him or do things to him.
”If he comes up and shows love, I’ll say ‘What’s up?’ That’s the type of deal I’m on… But it all depends on how that game goes, how he interacts in that game and how well he plays, how cleanly or non-cleanly he or us plays against each other. That’s going to determine how we shake hands. But I highly doubt he plays in that game, and if he does I highly doubt he wants to shake hands before or after that game.”
After losing to Atlanta in round 1 of the 2021 playoffs, Ben distanced himself from all his teammates and barely spoke to them at all throughout the next few months.
With little communication of explanation from Simmons, it's no surprise that his teammates are feeling a little bitter about how he handled the situation.
As for the March 10th matchup, nobody knows if Ben will play or if he'll even be in the building. The last report said it could be weeks before he returns, so it's possible he misses the game entirely.
Regardless, the game will be a chance for Ben to show what he's made of. If he can face that Philly crowd after everything that transpired, it might just earn him back some of the respect he's lost over the past year.