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Ben Simmons, Sixers discuss return to Sixers, but return to Philly fans could be difficult

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The Philadelphia 76ers can’t find an acceptable trade for Ben Simmons, and Simmons is nearing $1 million in lost salary so the two sides have had discussions about the All-Star reporting to the Sixers, a person with knowledge of talks told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about ongoing talks between Simmons’ camp, including his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, and the Sixers.

This would be significant change of course for Simmons, who requested a trade earlier in the summer and has refused to join the Sixers for training camp and preseason.

But ESPN reported Monday evening that Simmons had traveled to Philadelphia and taken a required COVID-19 test.

The 76ers are negotiating with Ben Simmons (25) and his camp to return to the team as they work on a trade, even though there may be some friction with teammates like Joel Embiid (21).
The 76ers are negotiating with Ben Simmons (25) and his camp to return to the team as they work on a trade, even though there may be some friction with teammates like Joel Embiid (21).

Simmons had hoped to force Philadelphia’s hand and be with another team by the start of the season. But Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey never planned to deal Simmons for less than what he thought market-value was for Simmons, a three-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA selection.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers and Morey have also maintained they want Simmons on the court even if there’s some lingering friction between Simmons and the franchise, including All-Star center Joel Embiid.

"We've said from Day 1 what we've wanted – that we would love to get him back," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said prior to Monday night's preseason game against the Nets.

In trying to discern who had leverage, Morey’s patience may have prevailed for now. Simmons still has four years and $146.6 million remaining on his contract.

It’s hard to envision Simmons returning to the Sixers and their fanbase, but that might be the short-term resolution. And both sides can go from there.

Contributing: Tom Moore, Bucks County Courier Times

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ben Simmons, Sixers discussing return to team while they try for trade