The Philadelphia 76ers are still locked in the saga with 25-year old 3-time All-Star Ben Simmons as the team looks to move forward in this situation. The Sixers have been looking to integrate him back in with the team after all of the off-the-court drama surrounding his trade request.
After clearing the NBA’s COVID protocol, Simmons has now officially rejoined the team. He has now practiced fully with everybody for two days in a row now and he will be looking to get back with the team and continue to move forward.
Some might think the atmosphere around the team would be awkward with his return to the floor. The Sixers are a team that needs the chemistry in order to move forward, but Simmons’ presence has not changed much in terms of the vibe around the group.
“He’s showed up. He’s practiced,” said new addition Georges Niang. “We welcomed him in and that’s really how it’s been. I don’t think anything has really changed. Obviously, he’s a part of this team and we’re happy that he’s here now. I don’t think anybody’s really changed. The vibes are still really high and we’re still really excited to push forward and compete for a championship this season.”
While Simmons has missed a couple of weeks due to his trade request, it’s not like he is a new addition. He has been in Philadelphia for the entirety of his career so he understands who he is playing with and how coach Doc Rivers wants to run things.
“It’s been good,” said veteran Danny Green. “Things have gone the same as normal. It’s the usual…It’s different to see a new face. We get a new teammate. We got a new face and a guy we haven’t seen in a while so that’s the only difference.”
In terms of him getting ready to play on opening night against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Rivers is still not ready to commit to that yet.
“I have no idea,” he explained. “Honestly, I haven’t thought about it much. When it comes, I’ll make the decision, but I’m just gonna wait and see and watch. The spirit has been so good and so we’re just going to keep going.”
On the flip side, Rivers acknowledged that Simmons progressed well in practice on Tuesday.
“Yeah, he played more for sure today,” he added. “We’re just going to take our time and keep building.”
At the end of the day, everybody knows how talented Simmons is and the team understands that they are a better team with him out on the floor with them in order to succeed.
“He’s been great,” said Tyrese Maxey. “It’s Ben Simmons. We know what he does. He’s really good at what he does and it’s great to have him back.”
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